SRINAGAR: Determination of youth to set up business ventures for self-employment is tapped by the government through different beneficiary schemes. The proactive approach of the Fisheries Department to guide and facilitate youth, besides providing market facilities motivated them to invest in a fish culture which is proving to be one of the lucrative and viable businesses.
General youth, especially educated unemployed ones are opting for this sector as means of earning their livelihood. Today, thousands of people are directly or indirectly engaged with this business and entrepreneurship.
Kupwara, the border and hilly district of Jammu and Kashmir, bestowed with natural water resources, has a great potential for the growth of Fisheries and aquaculture products.
The Department of Fisheries in Kupwara employs all possible efforts to further boost the activities both at the Government level as well as in the private sector to achieve the highest mark of development in the sector. A massive impetus on the aquaculture in the district has been seen due to centrally sponsored schemes including Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojna (PMMSY) which aims to achieve the target results through sustained and focused activities.
During the last five years, the fish production of the district increased manifold with 9738 quintals production achieved during 2020-21. Assistant Director, Department of fisheries, Kupwara Unit details that during the last 9 months of the current financial year recorded 8972 quintals of production while the trout production is expected to touch 200 quintals in March 2022.
The inclination towards fish culture among the locals in Kupwara is overwhelming as the concerned department saw the registration of 711 fishermen while the number of fish farmers touches to 106. In the district, this sector provides livelihood to 817 families consisting of 5000 souls.
For the economic welfare of people involved in the fisheries industry, an amount of Rs.104.39 has been spent by the Department of fisheries, Kupwara during the current financial year by the concerned department which includes financial assistance of Rs 78 lakh to 60 fishermen for construction of their residential houses, while as Rs.26.39 lakh have been provided to 14 unemployed youth as financial assistance for the establishment of their own Fish Units.
Likewise, during the 2020-21 financial year, Rs. 116.59 lakh were provided as financial assistance to 76 beneficiaries for construction of residential houses while 11 persons were also provided financial assistance for construction of fish ponds under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme PMMSY.
The Assistant Director informed that 65 Carp and 41 Trout units are functional in the district, with a minimum capacity of 4-7 quintals in Carp Culture and 7-15 quintals in Trout Culture.
During 2020-21, ten trout and 01 Carp units have been constructed in the Private Sector under CSS Scheme PMMSY while in the current financial year fourteen Trout/ Carp units are being constructed in the Private Sector in the district under Capex budget and PMMSY scheme.
During the last 05 years, 34 units have been established which include 26 Trout units and 08 Carp units.
Financial assistance to registered fishermen for the construction of their residential houses motivates youth to adopt this sector as means of their livelihood. The department provided During last 05 years, that is, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, 154 deserving fishermen (21 in Karnah, 41 in Kupwara, 03 in Lolab,55 in Handwara and 34 in Langate) got financial assistance of Rs.1.30 lakh each for construction of their residential houses. During the current financial year, 60 such housing units have been allotted under PMMSY Scheme in the district through ‘draw of lots’.
The Department of Fisheries always keeps Stocking water bodies, annually with quality fish seed produced at National Fish Farm Manasbal, to boost the capture fisheries and to compensate for the losses of livestock due to floods and poaching. A large number of fishermen families get livelihood from these water bodies. The department has earned Rs.1.80 lakh as auction amount during 2021-22.
As per data provided by the department, 1748937 number carp seed was stocked during the last 5 years while as 160000 Trout seed was also stocked during the same time.
“The Trout Stream Mawar in Handwara subdivision of district Kupwara is famous for trout angling. The stream is regularly being stocked with quality trout seed produced in different hatcheries of the Kashmir Division especially Trout Hatchery Laribal Dachigam. The Anglers of different locations after Proper permission are allowed to catch fish. This activity is an attraction for the Tourists, especially those who are fond of Angling thus adding to the economy of the common people of the area and also becoming a source of income for the Shakarees( fishermen)of the local area, who help Anglers during fishing. During the current year, 33 Anglers enjoyed fishing. The Anglers were happy as they got a good catch of Brown Trout with a weight range of 500 gms to 2 Kgs’, said the A D Fisheries, adding, that was only possible because of proper watch and ward of trout streams and the department has collected compensation of Rs.2.55 lakh from the poachers who were caught red-handed during illegal fishing and mining.
Sajjad further said that the department has established 03 Carp Fish Farms at Kohroo in Langate, Bohipora in Kupwara and Dewar in Lolab; likewise established 03 Trout Rearing Units at Kutlari in Mawar, Kalaroos and Sulimaan in Karnah subdivision. He said these units are functioning as innovation for fish farmers, besides providing seed. Last year 24330 Numbers of quality fish seed was provided to fish farmers of the district, besides 24000 Numbers were stocked into Irrigation Sars in the district.
He said at Trout Rearing Unit Kutlari Mawar, Trout sale of Rs.7.21 lakh has been recorded during the current financial year so far as against 2.90 lakh in the year 2017-18. Likewise, good sales are being recorded in other Trout Units also.
He further said that for the convenience of fish farmers and the general public, a fully equipped fish sale centre has been established with the full support of the District Administration in the main market Kupwara.
To conclude, the Assistant Director of Fisheries said that the department is doing all the best possible and sincere efforts to further boost the fisheries sector by way of increasing fish production and job opportunities in the district. He added that all the efforts become possible with the full support of Deputy Commissioner Kupwara and Director Fisheries.