The recovery of trout fish farming in mountainous region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa needs years as majority of the stock along with hundreds of farms have been washed away by disastrous floods. The recent devastating floods in Kohistan, Swat, Chitral, Manshera, Shangla, Dir lower and Upper has wreaked havoc on trout fishing farming industry by completely destroying 375 number of farms and nine public sector hatcheries. Apart from destroying hundreds of fish farms, the ferocious flood also swept away fish stock weighing hundreds of tonnes.

“Majority of the trout fish farms are destroyed in Swat around 220 in numbers while 50 in Manshera, 29 including one hatchery in Dir Upper and remaining in other district,” informed Zubair Ali, Director Fisheries Planning and Development KP. Talking to APP, Zubair said damage to trout fish stock is enormous and its recovery will take years.

Almost majority of the stock in farms and river water is swept away down country and development of new fish stock needs a lot of resources for which the Fisheries Department has submitted a three years recovery plan. In the first year of recovery plan, we have submitted projects costing upto Rs. 800 million and for full recovery the department needs a hefty amount of Rs. 2.5 billion, Zubair told APP. Public sector hatcheries including the largest at Madyan in Swat is completely destroyed and department don’t have fish fries to distribute in remaining farms for recovering of fish stock losses.

The Fisheries department, he continued, is contemplating a plan to import trout fish eggs for hatching and distribution of fries in different farms. These fish eggs would be imported from Turkey, Italy and some other countries, Zubair apprised APP. In response to a question about collection of fries of trout fish from farms in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, Zubair said these areas fish farm are not so large that will fulfill need of KP.

Even fish hatcheries in KP supplied fish fires to farms in AJK and GB region, he added. Zubair said trout fish farms industry also faced sever losses in 2010 floods but at that time number of farms were less only around 20 to 25. Whereas now, he continued, we have farms in hundreds of numbers. After 2015 a rapid growth of trout fish farms in KP was witnessed which was also due to a pro-business policy of KP government of paying subsidy up to Rs1.8 million to owners for setting up of business.

Zubair said trout fish farm has emerged as a handsome profit generation business, making an income of Rs700,000 to Rs900,000 on monthly basis. This high profit attraction lured a number of people to the business resulting in increase of trout fish farms in the province. About damage to river ecology due to deadly flood, Zubair said breeding and feeding spots in river have been damaged while high speed water swept away fish stock down to plain region. The department will also import eggs of brown trout fish for distribution in river water for recovery of fish fauna losses.

The Fisheries department has submitted its recovery plans with concerned department and work will start with passage of time on basis of funds released by the government, he added.