HP to boost trout angling to attract tourists

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Shimla, Jul 25 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Government is promoting trout angling in a big way to boost the tourism activities in the state.

More riverines had been fed with trout seed to attract tourists to such areas, which included river Beas, Tirthan, Pabbar and Baspa, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said in the the review meeting of the Fisheries Department here today.

The angling competition is being organised to attract anglers and more officers have been authorised to issue angling licences for trout angling in the state, he said.

The Chief Minister emphasised the need to avail the services of National Fishfed to market its trout produce to fetch the fishermen remunerative returns. He said that possibilities needed to be explored to rope in NREGA for giving boost to the fish farming in the state as the entire state had been brought under the central sponsored scheme.

Mr Dhumal said that Himachal Pradesh had the distinction of being the first state in the country which introduced Trout Farming in private sector which was contributing over 50 tonnes of trout. He said that the state was producing 7,337 tonnes of fish valued at about Rs 37 crore and was contributing significantly towards providing quality fish to the consumers.

He said that the government had launched number of welfare schemes like scheme for reservoir fishermen, fishermen accident insurance scheme, close season assistance scheme and risk fund scheme to protect the interests of the fishermen while working in adverse circumstances and conditions.

The government is extending premium free insurance cover of Rs 50,000 to all the licensed fishermen operating in the state riverine sector benefitting about 11 thousand families engaged as full time fishermen in the state. On permanent disability the fishermen would be entitled to get Rs 25,000.

"Fisheries is one of the sector where large number of avenues for self employment existed and need of the hour is to encourage people to adopt fisheries as a full time avocation and find employment and self-employment opportunities in abundance," the Chief Minister said.

"There are 19 cooperative fishermen societies registered in the state, which has made Himachal Pradesh the only state in the country where cooperative fish farming is being promoted." He said that the department of fisheries with its multi-pronged strategy had been able to arrest the downfall in fish catches during the year 2007-08 when an increase of 350 tonnes was registered.

He said that efforts were afoot to develop the First Mahseer Fish farm at Badon in tehsil Jogindernagar in district Mandi at a cost of over Rs 5 crore while a new farm on the bank of river Tirthan at Hamini (Kullu) was also being constructed at a cost of about Rs. 2.5 crore.

Mr Dhumal said that state riverines were being surveyed to reserve the same for fish rearing and kept free from hydel power projects.

Mr Dhumal said that awareness campaign was required to be launched in a big way to educate the masses not to overfeed the fish in the lakes to save them from dense population.

Mr Rakesh Kaushal, Secretary Fisheries said that efforts were under way to make fisheries an employment generation avocation so that rural youth could be engaged in gainful employment besides utilising the aqua potential available in the state.

He said that awareness campaign was also being launched to motivate people to adopt fisheries as full time avocation.

UNI XC PS MMS1748

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