English | Dzongkha Sunday, January 19, 2020

Fish farming, an alternative to fishing from the river


Dec 10, 2019

Rookha chiwog under Athang Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang is known for its smoked fish locally called ‘Nya Do-Sem’. This age-old culture of fishing from Harachhu stream still continues but on a lesser scale. The Dzongkhag Administration has introduced fish farming as an alternative to prevent exhaustion of natural resources.

Fish farming has gained popularity in the chiwog with almost every household owning a fishery pond. It is considered as one of the best supplementary income sources for the people of Rookha chiwog and they are even happier when they can have it on their farm just like any other cash crops.

The culture of pond fishery in the community dates back to 2004 but the venture was not that successful due to lack of access to road and dependable water canal. But, after having found the fish farming feasible and income-generating source as well. The Dzongkhag Administration began to promote and revive the culture in 2017 after connecting the chiwog to a farm road.

“We have initially started the pond fishery works from 2004 and made a good income. But from 2007 to 2009, we had to leave the works due to water shortage. So, now with the help of government, we have revived the culture by expanding the pond size with enough supply of water. We have started the work from last year and we are expecting to fetch not less than Nu 50,000,” said Tashi Dorji, from Rookha under Athang Gewog.

The hope of fetching higher returns has encouraged farmers to introduce more fingerlings and fry.

“We are not sure about the size of fishes in the pond since we did not check it even once so far. As per our observation, we see only a few big fishes but most of the others are small. However, we are expecting more since I have a big pond compared to earlier one, and laid more than two thousand fingerlings,” said Phub Tshering, from the same village.

The farmers were also trained on how to manage the ponds and feed the fishes before excavating the ponds for them. The Livestock Sector supply fingerlings from the National Research Centre for Aquaculture in Gelegphu.

“Fish farming is quite easy compared to other farm works. It grows well as long as we feed them properly. We are feeding timely grasses and foods to make some good income out of it,” said Dechen Wangmo, also from Rookha.

The Dzongkhag Livestock Sector helps the farmers to develop the pond and supplied three thousand to five thousand fingerlings each according to the size of ponds.

“Since the population is increasing here, there is a chance of fishes in the Harachhu stream to disappear. So, in order to decrease the fishing in Harachhu and improve their fish farming, we have started helping the farmers by constructing fishery ponds,” said Ugyen, the Dzongkhag Livestock Officer.

According to the Livestock Officer, the fishes will grow up ready to be harvested by seven to eight months depending on the management of the farmers.

Apart from their popular smoked fish,  the Dzongkhag Livestock Sector has a plan to help diversify fish products.

Changa Dorji

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