Himachal Pradesh will start land-based fish farming using RAS technology under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) to raise different varieties of fish throughout the year. The state will set up 15 fish ponds using RAS technology under this scheme during next five years beginning from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
The first batch of fish farmers will be sent to National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad for training in latest aquaculture techniques under cold water fisheries using RAS Technology.
The RAS technology is a new way to farm fish under which fish is 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. The regular supply of limited quantity of clean water is ensured at a controlled temperature and dissolved oxygen content that is optimum for growth in a closed and containment system. The method is ideal for fish farmers of the state during shortage of water in summer as farmer can supplement their income with little use of water through inland fisheries using RAS technology.
Out of total 15 fish farms, five fish farms will be set up in general waters in Una, Mandi, Kangra (Palampur and Pong dam) and Sirmaur districts and ten in cold water fisheries under the RAS technology in Kinnaur, Sirmaur, Shimla, Mandi, Chamba and Kullu districts during next five years aiming at enhancing fish production and productivity in the state in an integrated and holistic manner .
It is estimated that total 40 tonne per unit annual fish production will be achieved in general RAS unit while in cold water RAS there are four tonne and 10 tonne production capacities units, which will meet the growing demand of trout fish in metropolitan cities and will generate additional employment and economic activities in the respective regions.
When all 15 fish farms under RAS technology will be operationalised, approximately 270 tonne fish is expected to be produced annually under RAS technology in the state, said Fishery Minister Virender Kanwar. He added that rainbow trout will be reared in coldwater RAS and in general water RAS Pangasius, Tilapia, Common carp will be reared.
Initially, the land based fish farms will be set up in cold water areas in Kullu, Mandi, Chamba, Sirmaur, Shimla, and Kinnaur districts and in the beginning two new fish farms in district Kullu and Kinnaur will be set up under RAS technology during the year 2020-21 under PMMSY in the state.
The new fish farms in the state under RAS technology will be set up in private sector and it is estimated that around Rs. 5 crore private investment will be received for infrastructural development for setting up new land based fish farms under RAS technology in the state in next five years under PMMSY.
The state government will provide incentives to the private sector for setting up fish farms under RAS technology under which financial assistance at the rate of 40 percent to general category and 60 percent to SC/ST/women of the total unit cost will be provided to the entrepreneurs under the scheme.
RAS technology fish farms of Rs. 50 lakh, Rs. 20 lakh unit costs are proposed to be established in the state under PMMSY keeping in view of the topography and geography different regions of this hill state.
At present, fish is reared all the year around, although summers are most favourable for growth of fish. RAS technology is expected to boost fish growth all the year around irrespective of weather conditions.
The new fish farms under RAS technology will 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 while in regular fish farming, water from the ponds or tanks need to be completely pumped out and thrown away since it gets saturated with toxic ammonia, said Virender Kanwar.