GUWAHATI, May 7 – Breeding and trade in ornamental fishes, also called living jewels, is attracting the un-employed youths in the State. Exotic ornamental fish, has seen a rise in domestic demand, while the indigenous variety is becoming popular abroad.
Of the available 217 fish species in the State, about fifty species have attracted international attention, a source in the Fisheries Department stated.
The domestic demand for aquarium and ornamental fishes is about 20 lakhs per month in the State, and near about fifty percent of domestic demand of exotic ornamental fish is produced in the State.
Around 300 previously unemployed youths are associated with the production of exotic ornamental fish, aquarium and its cover by locally available materials, informed Prabal Sarma, a leading entrepreneur of ornamental fish. The main advantages for trade in exotic ornamental fish are - it requires less space, same water can be used for several times, and technology is easy to use, informed Dr Sanjay Sarma, Fishery Officer under Department of Fisheries, Assam.
Apart from the initiation of Department of Fisheries, Assam the sector is growing through a joint efforts of National Agricultural Bank for Rural Development (NABARD), Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (MSME-DI) and research institutes such as College of Fisheries, Fisheries Research Centre under Assam Agricultural University.
Though selected indigenous ornamental fish is in good demand abroad and local fish breeding technology is standardised for a few species, fish exporters are still dependent on Kolkata based exporters due to lack of International Airport facility in Guwahati, informed Jujushman Baruah, a city based local ornamental fish breeder.
Recently, 20 self-help groups comprising 125 unemployed youths have become involved in this sector under the scheme Promotion of Ornamental Fish Trade in Assam sponsored by Employment Generation Mission, Assam and financed by Assam Gramin Vikash Bank through the technical guidance of Department of fisheries, Assam.