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Trout fish seeds once brought from abroad, now flourishing business in Kashmir

The trout fish business is gaining momentum in Kashmir. The demand for fish eggs being raised here is also increasing

By Wahid Bhat
New Update
Trout fish seeds once brought from abroad, now flourishing business in Kashmir

The trout fish business is gaining momentum in Kashmir. The demand for fish eggs being raised here is also increasing in other parts of the country. Trout fish are cold-water fish and are being farmed in the hilly areas of the country.  Kashmiri trout has none of the sponginess found in trout from polluted streams and industrial breeding pools in the west.

In January, five lakh trout eggs were sent from the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Uttarakhand. After this, two lakh eggs were demanded from Sikkim in February. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), located in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand, took the responsibility of transporting eggs from Kashmir to Sikkim.

Speaking to Groundreport.in Zahoor Ahmad Shah, who is associated with the Fisheries business said "this fish, rich in taste and health, is facing many dangers. “ Fishing in the river is becoming difficult due to mining. Its number is decreasing. Because of this, now fish farming is being done on the farm itself. It is not possible to give a river-like environment to the fish in the farm".

Zahoor Ahmad Shah, who is associated with the Fisheries business. Photo credit: Ground Report/Wahid Bhat

He said the industry of fish farming has been considered a profitable deal anyway. Fish farming is also considered a very big industry by farmers. For those who do fish farming, it has been a profitable deal, I'm associated with this business for the last 20 years.

Kashmiri trout, introduced by British in 1900

An official from Kashmir Fisheries Department told Groundreport.in that Kashmiri trout, introduced to the region by the British in 1900, is one of the healthiest and tastiest in the world because it lives in oxygen-rich, ice-filled streams.

As evidence, the official announced that the survival rate of trout eggs in Kashmir is about 10 per cent higher than the western average of about 46 per cent. The information available on the website of the Department of Fisheries of Jammu and Kashmir, the association of trout fishes with Kashmir is more than 100 years.  

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Officials said several roadblocks blocked the way before the trout exports could resume. Kashmir had no international airport, while hatcheries were plagued by power shortages and inadequate investment. Corruption and overall lethargy and inefficiency were other problems faced by Kashmir's trout industry.

At the behest of British residents, the first consignment of 10,000 trout eggs was sent by the Duke of Bedford to the Maharaja of Kashmir in 1899 but was destroyed on the way.

Trout Fish farm. Photo credit: Ground Report/Wahid Bhat

For the second time in the year 1900, fish were imported from Scotland. Of these, one thousand eggs were released in Harwan Lake in Dachigam, 24 km from Srinagar. The rest of the eggs were laid by Michel in his private lake. The fish were later released into the smaller rivers of the valley. Since then new varieties of trout have adopted the chilly waters of Kashmir.

Trout fishery in 1901

Mitchell opened a trout fishery in 1901 where its eggs were produced. After the increasing popularity of trout fish in Kashmir, the Department of Fisheries was also established in 1903. 

Trout caught in Pahalgam Valley, Kashmir. Photo by Matthew Laird Acred/Wikimedia Commons.

In the year 1978, the structure of this department changed and since then the department has many other responsibilities like trout fisheries, egg extraction, laboratory operation, sales center, etc. The Aquarium and Awareness Center is also run by the department at Leh, Jammu, and Kashmir.

In June 2018, Anantnag district was named as Trout District of India. Several trout fish firms were established with the help of the government. Asia's largest trout farm is located in Kokernag. It is gaining fame in the production of rainbow trout or rainbow trout. The farm was established in 1995 by the European Economy Committee. At this time, eggs are supplied from here to many places.

Trout fish are giving strength to the economy 

Trout fish farming is emerging as a good business for the farmers of Kashmir. This industry has also got a lot of support due to the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. Trout fishing can also be done commercially along with a water source. Local people can set up the farm with the help of the government. So far 200 farms have been established under this scheme. 


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