Himachal Pradesh Animal husbandry and Fisheries minister Virender Kanwar on Tuesday said fisheries export-hub will be created in the state reservoirs and trout areas.
Besides, export varieties of fishes like Singhara, carps and Rainbow Trout will be promoted in these areas, he said, adding that modern technology will be adopted in improving fisheries sector.
He said Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) would create fisheries infrastructure, reduce post-harvest losses, modernise and strengthen value chain and double export earnings.
It also aims to encourage private investment and generate additional jobs opportunities in the fisheries sector to unemployed youths over the next five years.
“Himachal has started export of fisheries from its reservoirs to neighbouring states/UTs of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi.
A total of 600 metric tonnes of fish valuing Rs 6.83 crore has been produced from various fisheries resources up to May 2020 and was exported to neighbouring states/UTs and also have been sold in markets within the state.
Total 17,549 kg fish were sold in various retail outlets in the state after April 2020,” he said.
Kanwar said the state has exported around 743.25 metric tonnes fish valuing Rs 18.57 crore during the year 2019-2020.
The export of fisheries was affected due to lockdown but now the situation has begun to improve and soon the department would further strengthen the fisheries activities.
There is huge potential to increase state fish exports to neighbouring states in the coming years, the government plans to promote export of Exotic Carps, IMC, Singhara and Trout etc in a big way due to high demand and remunerative prices.
“Exotic Carps, IMC, Singhara and Trout etc fish cultivation will be promoted through self help groups, fish cooperative societies, private entrepreneurs in the coming years,” he said, adding HP is working in its reservoir and trout clusters to create a major export hub for fisheries.
Kanwar further stated that the state had registered fish production of around 14020.14 metric tonnes during 2019-20 while by September, 2020 anticipated fish production in the state was likely to be recorded around 3000 metric tonnes.
The fisheries department is using IT enabled services to keep fishermen updated on various policies, programmes of the departments and update them on market conditions to enable them to get remunerative prices for their catch.
The department had created a Whatsapp group to seek suggestions, demands, grievances etc of the fishermen which were addressed on priority
“The state government took several steps to encourage fisheries activities during lockdown and 76,650 fish seeds were provided to the private fish farmers and 77,245 fish seeds were stocked in fish cages at Bhakra Dam, Bilaspur after April 20, 2020.
The Fisheries department has released a Rs 1.07 crore relief package to 5350 state reservoir fishermen for compensating the losses accrued due to COVID-19 outbreak in the state. Each fisherman was given a financial assistance of Rs. 2000 for a period of almost one month halt in fishing activities,” he added.