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Carps to cost less next year

- Bihar scripts fish success

Patna, Dec. 17: Bihar residents who love carp curry would have to pay far less for their favourite fish from 2013.

The animal and fish resources department is promoting the farming of Pangasius sutchii or shark catfish in the state. At present, consignments of the exotic variety come to the state from Andhra Pradesh. Its connoisseurs have to shell out as much as Rs 130 per kg.

But next year, they might have to pay much less to enjoy dishes of the exotic carp on their dining tables.

Fisheries director Nishat Ahmed said: “Andhra Pradesh has been farming the fish since 2003. But this year — the first time the fish was cultivated in Bihar — we have almost touched their production of around 40 metric tonnes.”

The harvesing of the fish — a native of the Mekong Southeast Asia — was done in March and April. “We had a target of growing 20 metric tonnes of fish per hectare in 25 districts. In Rohtas, Bettiah and Siwan, the harvest was 35 metric tonnes per hectare,” said Ahmed.

The fish, which was first brought to India from Thailand in 1995, is oil-rich and grows fast. It also has a longer lifespan than rohu or katla — other varieties of catfish. There is quite a demand in Bihar for the fish. “There is already a high demand for the fish. In fact, the production is far below the demand,” he said.

At present, the demand is around 5.2 lakh metric tonnes. But the supply is no more than 3.44 lakh metric tonnes. However, despite the prospect of rich returns, fish farmers were not always too eager to enter the venture. “The exotic carp requires feed-based culture. The more the fish is fed, the better the production. But fish farmers were apprehensive of trying out new things. So they would not feed the fish properly,” said Ahmed.

“The production is good enough to bring down the market price of the fish,” said Ahmed. “Next year, we shall hopefully produce more than Andhra Pradesh,” he added.