To encourage water-based tourism in State, Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to take up sports and recreational fisheries in Kol Dam reservoir in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh by the year 2020. State Fishery Department would stock seeds of sport fishes like Mahseer to attract anglers from India and abroad to promote high-end tourism in Kol Dam reservoir.
At present common carp, silver carp, mahseer and grass carp fish species are being reared in man-made water body.
The Fisheries Department proposes to start sports fisheries in 1302 hectares poundage falling in four districts namely Bilaspur, Solan, Mandi and Shimla by setting up angling huts in Kol dam reservoir. It would involve high-end tourists in angling, thus developing the area as a new tourist destination in the state.
In the year 2018-19, Kol Dam recorded highest 5.595 Metric Tonnes fish production, while in the year 2017-18, 3.105 Metric Tonnes fish production was recorded. The state government has fixed a target of 9.000 Metric Tonnes for the year 2019-20 and so far, has registered record fish production of 7.045 Metric Tonnes. In the year 2018-19, the maximum price of fish per kg was recorded at Rs. 101/- in Kol dam.
In order to address the problem of displacement for families who lost their lands in construction of Kol Dam, the State Government has created livelihood opportunities for displaced families through commercial fish production and has set up five cooperative societies for the commercial production of fisheries potential. Dam oustees and erstwhile fishermen of the river and other poor families of the riparian area are enrolled as primary members of the fish co-operative societies.
At present, over 350 fishermen have been engaged in the production of fish from Kol Dam to derive their livelihood. Fish fauna of Satluj river is dominated by Schizothoracids, Mahseer, Minor carps, Catfish and Trout in upper reaches. Silver carp fish of Gobind Sagar has also migrated upstream for feeding and breeding purposes where water temperature regime is almost on the same pattern as it is in its native place.
The fisheries department has created three fish landing centres in this reservoir at Kol in district Bilaspur, Beral in district Solan and at Sunni in district Shimla. The three fish landing centre buildings constructed are well equipped with hi-tech facilities and hygienic conditions, so that the quality of fish caught is maintained and fishermen get good price of fish caught by them. The fish caught by members of fish co-operative societies is weighed daily and handed over to fish contractors, for its further marketing in these centres.
The department proposes to shift fishing close season from present 1st June–31st July to 16th June -15th August every year shortly for better auto breeding of fish in the reservoir. The department has done 3.876 lakh fish seed stocking up to November 2019, while in the year 2018-19, 3.747 lakh fish seed stocking was done from departmental farms as well as purchase from outside the state through the tender process.
The fisheries department is conducting a preliminary survey regarding the availability of land and water in close proximity of reservoirs, so that carp hatcheries and rearing ponds can be established near these reservoirs for raising advanced fingerlings for stocking in the reservoir. As many as 24 fish cages for a culture of cold-water trout fish is being installed in Kol Dam by the department for increasing fish production. 28 Fish cages were installed in Gobind Sagar reservoir, which is being used for production of advanced fingerlings for stocking in the reservoirs.