Asia’s largest fish farm in Kokernag faces dearth of staff

Will try to solve all issues: Advisor Bhatnagar

Srinagar: Despite Asia’s largest trout fish farm, the Kokernag fish farm in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district is facing immense dearth of staff.

Known for its natural beauty, Kashmir has the distinction of having Asia’s largest fisheries farm in Kokernag.

The farm is emerging best producer of Rainbow Trout fish across the world.
However, the fish farm is facing immense dearth of staff resulting it not being properly maintained.

“There are only 30 employees who have to look after the entire fish farm. We would engage daily rated workers for its maintenance like to keep it clean. But we are no longer engaging daily rated workers due to lack of funds,” an official of Fisheries Department told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

Similarly, the official said there was a lack of support on part of the government. “We are giving our best, that is the reason it is Asia’s largest fish farm and its fish production is increasing each year. But government should provide us with the required funds and staff to run the farm,” an official of the farm said.
The official said most of the lower rank officials are awaiting promotions for years.

“We provide seed to over 500 farmers. This farm generated revenue of Rs 1.73 crore during 2018 which went up to Rs 1.83 crore last year. In addition seed was sold for Rs 40 lakh to farmers,” the official said.

The Fisheries Department set up a trout farming project at Kokernag in south Kashmir with the European Economic Community’s assistance in 1984.

The project is managed by the local officials who are technically knowhow about trout seed production.

Trout is a highly nutritious food. An average-sized trout contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are needed for the development of the brain and retina in infants. Trout also contains 20 percent protein, vitamins A, B, B1, C2 and D and forms the basis of a healthy, low-fat and fibre-rich diet.

The introduction of trout in Kashmir for angling is credited to a Britain Frank Mitchell. In 1899, he reared the trout in the premises of his private carpet factory at Bagh-e-Dilawar Khan, located in Shahr-e-Khas. He established the first trout hatchery at Harwan in 1901 and trained the locals.

Advisor to Governor B R Bhatnagar said he will look into the matter. “I will discuss this issue with officials and try to sort out all these issues,” Bhatnagar told news agency KINS. (KINS)