CHITRAL, Dec 9: Fish farmers have complained of the successive governments’ failure to promote trout production in Chitral.
According to them, British officers had stashed sperms of trout and troutlings into the transparent and cool waters of Garam Chashma, Kalash and Golen valleys in 1930s but no effort was made since then to promote the trout farming.
Fish farmer Aslam Shah said it was Captain Woods, a British-era assistant political agent in Chitral, who had introduced trout fish to the waters of the district finding them highly favourable for their production.
He, however, said after independence fish production remained stagnant except setting up of a few hatcheries in Jughur and Bumburate areas.
“No substantial move has been to multiply the number of trout in local rivers,” he said.
Mr Aslam said a fully-fledged fisheries department was established in the district but it had failed to ensure availability of that fish on the market.
He said trout farming had great potential in certain valleys of the district, where it could engage hundreds of unemployed youths, who could raise their own hatcheries if technical guidance and initial financial support were provided to them.
The fish farmer said trout was selling at Rs2,100 per kilogramme in local farms but despite that high price, the fish were in short supply.
He said the natural spring water ponds provided ideal and congenial environment for trout farming and that there were hundreds of springs in the valleys of Garam Chashma, Bumburate, Golen, Laspur, Sheshi and Arsoon, where it was possible.
Mr Aslam said trout farms established by the private sector were prone to failure in initial years as proper knowledge and expertise was required to cater to the needs of fish both in terms of food and environment.
He said many people began fish farming but abandoned it after failing to protect troutlings against the freezing temperature of the winter season due to lack of knowledge.
Another fish farmer, Zahid Khan, said the area could produce 1,000 metric tons of trout every year if the government ensured provision of the required facilities.
He said the flash floods of 2010 and 2013 had almost exterminated trout population in the rivers of Garam Chashma and Bumburate and there was an intense need to replenish it by releasing more troutlings and sperms into rivers.–Zahiruddin