Tenughat Dam in Bokaro, where cage cultivation of fish will debut soon. Picture by Pankaj Singh
If you are a fish lover in Bokaro, an additional local output of 200 tonne a month may seem a fishy fantasy.
But it will soon be true, for the fisheries department is set to introduce cage cultivation at Tenughat Dam, with the participation of two co-operatives, in the last week of October.
Officials said the department had roped in two organisations — Parki fishery co-operative committee and Mirzapur fishery co-operative — to cultivate starting Pangasius (catfish) and common carp.
So far in Jharkhand, cage cultivation of fish has been carried out only in Ranchi (Hatia Dam) and Seraikela-Kharsawan (Chandil Dam).
Under the production technique, cages made of steel or water-resistant material that are covered with nets are immersed in water bodies. Fingerlings or small fish are then released inside the cages and nourished with artificial feed.
District fisheries officer Shambhu Prasad Yadav told The Telegraph that cage cultivation was a success story in Chhattisgarh, adding that once it is introduced at Tenughat, more co-operatives would be encouraged to follow suit.
The government was providing necessary help, including financial aid, he said.
“We are sure that cage cultivation will not only boost production in the district but also generate employment but and cater to the growing market in Bokaro,” Prasad added.
The plan gained ground after officials from the department met leading scientist B.C. Jha at Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute in Barrackpore, Bengal, earlier this year. On Jha’s advice, an 11-member team including persons from the co-operatives went to Raipur to get trained in cage cultivation in February.
The department has already ordered four cages from a Ranchi firm. Indian Broiler Group, Chhattisgarh, will supply the seeds and fingerlings.
The cages will be in the dimensions of 6mx4mx4m, with each costing around Rs 74,000.
Yadav said, “The total costs of the cages will be Rs 2.95 lakh. Later on, 48 such frames will be brought here to develop the project on a mass scale.”
Sources said 7,000 fish seeds would be cultivated in each cage. According to a rough estimate, the result will be 5,000kg fish in 190 days and a profit of 25 to 30 per cent for the farmers in the first year. The profits are likely to shoot up to 50 per cent by 10 years.