Shimla, Oct 11 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh will start land-based fish farming using recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) technology under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), a flagship scheme for sustainable development of fisheries, officials said on Sunday.
The state plans to set up 15 fish ponds in the next five years.
The first batch of fish farmers will be sent to the National Fisheries Development Board in Hyderabad for training in aquaculture techniques under cold water fisheries.
The RAS technology is a new way to farm fish under which fish are reared in indoor tanks with limited use of water in a controlled environment, instead of traditional method of fish rearing in water reservoirs, open tanks, ponds and rivers.
A regular supply of limited quantity of clean water is ensured at a controlled temperature and with a dissolved oxygen content that is optimum for growth in a closed and containment system.
The method is ideal for fish farmers during shortage of water in summer as farmers can supplement their income with little use of water through inland fisheries using the RAS technology.
As per the state Fisheries Department, a total of 40 tonnes per unit annual fish production will be achieved in low hills, while in high-altitude areas, there will be four to 19 tonnes capacity units, which will meet the growing demand of trout fish in metropolitan areas.
With the operation of all 15 fish farms, approximately 270 tonnes of fish is expected to be produced annually by opting the RAS technology, Fisheries Minister Virender Kanwar told IANS.
He said the rainbow trout will be reared in coldwater, while in normal water, pangasius, tilapia and common carp will be reared.
Such fish farms will be set up initially in Kullu and Kinnaur districts.
To promote private investments, the state has plans to provide incentives to set up a fish farm amounting to 40 per cent of the total unit cost under the scheme to the general category and 60 per cent to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and woman farmers.
The new fish farms will help farmers raise different varieties of fish throughout the year using lesser water to produce a higher yield and also enables reuse of the wastewater for agriculture, domestic and irrigation purposes, Kanwar added.