Director Fisheries, J&K, Mohammad Farooq Dar on Sunday conducted an extensive tour of Ranjit Sagar Reservoir to monitor the progress of the development of Reservoir Fisheries in the reservoir. He also reviewed the implementation of various fisheries developmental schemes being implemented in the area.

It was informed that presently the area under reservoir fisheries in the UT is estimated at about 0.07 lakh hectares and with the constant addition of new hydel power projects/impoundments, this area is likely to further increase in the coming years. The department has established Reservoir Fisheries in Ranjit Sagar Reservoir and its area falls in three states namely Punjab, J&K UT and Himachal Pradesh. The reservoir has a total area of about 10,400 ha out of which about 5,500 ha falls in the territory of J&K in district Kathua.

The Assistant Director Fisheries, Kathua, apprised the Director that the department has auctioned the fishing rights of the said water body under open auction/e-auction under certain terms and conditions amenable for implementation of the conservation measures required for the development of reservoir fisheries. The department has realised revenue of Rs 121 lakh through e-auctioning of the said reservoir during 2021-22 and about 70-80 tons of fish is expected to be extracted from the reservoir during the current year.

The Director said the fish production in the reservoir can be increased considerably through planned, sustainable and scientific management of reservoirs. To tap the untapped potential of the Ranjit Sagar reservoir, the department has submitted a proposal to the government under the Project “Integrated Development of Reservoirs” which envisages adequate stocking material for reservoir stocking besides having a provision of backward and forward linkages in the form of fish breeding infrastructure, landing centre, refrigerated vehicles, sale outlets for marketing, etc.

The implementation of the project will enhance productivity and ultimately production giving ample opportunity to the rural folks for livelihood and ensuring nutritional security. The enhanced fish production of reservoirs will help to boost the economic scenario of the adjoining area and will provide opportunities for local people to earn their livelihood with honour and integrity by associating themselves with fisheries/aquaculture-related activities. The income of the fishers associated with the reservoir fisheries shall be increased by providing them with direct and indirect employment.

While inspecting the fish landing centre at Basohli, the Director Fisheries emphasized on modernising the fish landing centre on scientific lines so that the fish is maintained in the proper cold chain and reach the consumers in hygienic and healthy condition. He urged the fisher community involved in the fish trade to avail the benefits of the various fisheries development schemes viz. PMMSY, CAPEX, FIDF etc to get remunerative prices for their produce/catch and enhance their income.

The Director Fisheries directed the field staff to work with utmost dedication and implement conservation measures by strict enforcement of Fisheries regulations in the reservoir. He instructed the staff to maintain a strict vigil over the illegal fishing activities in the reservoir by framing anti-poaching squads. The Director was accompanied by the Assistant Director Fisheries Kathua during the tour.