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Saturday , September 29 , 2012
 
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Fish fest to spawn interest

It will be a fishy affair at the Vidhan Sabha ground in Ranchi on Saturday.

In an attempt to boost mariculture in the state, the fisheries department is organising a two-day national-level festival beginning Saturday, which will be attended by representatives of national and international research institutes, feed producers and farmers, among others associated with fish culture to share and learn about best industry practices.

Speaking to The Telegraph, one of the deputy directors in the state fisheries department, Ashish Kumar, said the event was being organised for the second time in Jharkhand.

“Last year, we organised the first fish festival in October. The response was encouraging as our farmers got to learn a lot about fish farming as a sustainable profession. That motivated us to hold another such event on September 29 and 30,” said Kumar.

While over 10,000 visited the fair last year, the department was expecting a bigger turnout this time.

At the venue, over 40 kiosks are going to be set up by different participants to exhibit their services and products.

The biggest draw, however, will be a live culinary stall where expert chefs will prepare and sell mouth-watering delicacies made solely from fish to woo the crowds.

Mariculture in Jharkhand has been making steady progress over the years.

According to rough figures available with the department for 2001-02, fish production in the state then was around 14,000 metric tonnes annually, which till last year had risen to about 71,000 metric tonnes.

The department is now hoping that it would cross one lakh metric tonne mark in the next couple of years.

Officials said the increase in production has been mainly due to increased awareness among farmers coupled with the department’s positive intervention.

“For example, we have matsya mitras across the state, who motivate other farmers to take up fishery as an alternative source of income. We have helped farmers create ponds through our schemes. This apart, we also recognise best farmer/groups from time to time with special rewards to keep them motivated. All these do make a difference,” said an official.

The state has also embarked upon cage culture in a big way.

Dhurwa dam in Ranchi was the first venue to host the captive breeding method last year.

This year, cages were released in other water bodies in Chandil, Hazaribagh etc in an attempt to double fish production in Jharkhand.

“Fisheries are easy money spinners. All one needs is a little bit of water. A push for fishery related activities will boost the economy of rural areas,” the official added.