Kashmir’s Fish Production Faces Threat Amidst Severe Dry Spell

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SRINAGAR: Due to the harsh, dry winter that Kashmir Valley is currently experiencing, experts are worried about how this may affect the region’s fish production.

They said the unusual absence of rain or snow is disrupting the delicate balance of water bodies, and might endanger fish. However, the fisheries department contends that production has steadily increased over the past four years and is anticipated to rise further in the upcoming season.

Dr Imtiaz Ahmed Khan, Chief Proctor at Kashmir University and  Ichthyologist said the effect of the dry spell on fish in Kashmir is evident.

When the water level decreases, it forces the fish out of their comfort zone, he said, adding, “In winter, fish usually stay in lower water zones where the temperature is higher compared to the upper layers of water. The decrease in water depth affects the temperature stratification zone, disrupting the fish’s comfort.”

Dr Khan said that in running water, oxygen exchange occurs, and nutrition comes from the catchment area, benefiting both stagnant and flowing water. “However, during dry weather, water from the catchment area doesn’t reach, affecting the fish. In the breeding season, if you kill a single fish, you are responsible for killing hundreds of fish,” he said.

“Natural fish breeding in Kashmir usually happens in February and March. The dry spell affects fish breeding as well as production due to reduced water levels, disrupting the specific breeding spots of fish,” he added.

Meanwhile, a Fisheries Department official told KNO that the fish production in J&K has witnessed a substantial surge in the last four years and is expected to increase further in the coming season.

“The fish production in Kashmir has increased by 5840 tons, generating 366.12 lakhs of revenue during this period,” the official said.

He added, “The production of trout has increased from 598 tons in 2019 to 1990 tons during the financial year 2022-23. To enhance fish productivity, the department imports fish seed from foreign countries. 1144 Trout Rearing Units have been set up in the private sector, and 56% (611 units) were established in the last four years to generate employment opportunities for the youth.”—(KNO)

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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