Fish production up by 30 per cent

By Laxman Kafle, Kathmandu, Nov. 6: With an impressive 30 per cent growth in the last five years, fish production has increased significantly over the years in the country.

Around 77,000 metric tons of fish were produced last fiscal year 2014/15 while it was limited to 56,000 metric tons in fiscal year 2010/11, according to the statistics provided by the Directorate of Fisheries Development (DFD) under the Ministry of Agricultural Development.

According to Baikuntha Adhikari, programme director at the DFD, the fish production has been going up significantly in the last five years following government support to those interested in the fishery business.

The government has been providing quality fingerlings, subsidy for hatchery and infrastructure development as well as training, he said.

Last fiscal year, out of the 77,000 metric tons of fish produced in the country, around 21,500 metric tons were produced in natural reservoirs and 55,500 metric tons in ponds, the report said.

Around 57,520 metric tons, 64,900 metric tons and 69,500 metric tons of fish were produced in fiscal years 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 respectively.

He said that the production of fish had yet not met the national demand even though production had increased. "The rate of increase in the demand for fish is greater than the rate of increase in fish production.

"People have been consuming more fish in the last couples of years," he said.

He added that the demand for fish had not increased to the extent necessary for human health.

The national demand for fish should be around 131,000 metric tons for a healthy life, he said, however, around 85,000 metric tons were enough to address the current demand.

"Annually, a person needs 4.56 kg of fish for good health. But its availability reached 3.04 kg per person in fiscal year 2014/15. The availability of fish was limited to only 2.39 kg a person five years ago," he said.

With the increasing demand, the import of fish has also been growing for the last five years because domestic production is unable to meet the growing demand, he said.

The import of fish rose by 4 per cent in the last five years, he said. According to a report, Nepal imports fish worth Rs. 2 billion a year.

However, the import of fish declined by 29 per cent to 7,882 metric tons last fiscal year compared to the previous fiscal year 2013/14 due to the unofficial blockade imposed by India.

The country imported 7,425 metric tons of fish in 2010/11, 9,963 metric tons in 2011/12, 12,869 metric tons in 2012/13 and 11,177 metric tons in 2013/14.

The income from fisheries has also been growing with the increase in production, he said and added that the income from this occupation has soared by 65 per cent in the last five years.

Fishery generated an income of Rs. 28 billion in 2014/15, Rs. 24 billion in 2013/14, Rs. 21 billion in 2012/13, Rs. 15 billion in 2011/12 and Rs. 12 billion in 2010/11.

Currently 600, 000 people are directly or indirectly employed in the sector.

Fishery has taken root in 56 districts, including 35 hilly districts, 20 Terai districts and the Kathmandu Valley.

Currently, fish contributes 4.22 per cent to the agriculture gross domestic product (AGDP) and 1.32 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP).

With a 48 per cent increase, the production of rainbow trout has also jumped in the country.

Nepal produces only 300 metric tons of rainbow trout out of the 77,000 metric tons of fish produced annually in the country.

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