The Rainbow Trout (oncorhynchus mykiss) Culture in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal

ss_2005_01Publication no. 2005/1
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Nepal is a Himalayan Kingdom situated at an altitude varying from 60 m in the south to 8,848 m in the north and is physio-graphically and agro-ecologically very diverse. It is one of the richest countries in the world, possessing about 2.27% of the world water resource (CBS 2003); approximately 5% of the total area of the country is occupied by different freshwater aquatic habitats (Bhandari 1992). Out of 818,500 ha total water surface area, there are about 6,000 rivers and rivulets flowing from north to south totaling about 45,000 km in length and covering an estimated area of 395,000 ha; these rivers and rivulets comprise about 48% of the total water resources (FDD 1998). Thus aquaculture in Nepal depends entirely on the exploitation of inland water bodies e.g. rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and ponds. Pond fish culture is the important part of aquaculture. The major species used are warm water carps, namely, Rohu (Labeo rohita), Bhakur (Catla catla) and Naini (Cirrhina mrigala) including exotic carps; common carp (Cyprinus carpio), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), and grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella); these are under commercial culture mainly in the southern Terai plain. Cage culture of these species has also been promoted in some lakes and reservoirs in the hilly region. Though per capita fish consumption in Nepal is very low (1.543 kg/yr) (DoFD 2002) compared to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and fisheries support only about 2% of the Agriculture GDP in the country (DoFD 2001), there has been a national initiative to promote/extend aquaculture in cold habitats for the mountain farming communities in order to generate income. A cold-water fish, the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) has been introduced to expand aquaculture in the hills of the country by utilizing the cold-water resources available. This success story briefly narrates the outcome of research and development efforts put forth by the national programme vis-à-vis the achievements made in trout culture in Nepal.

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