In most humbly felicitating the celebration of the 60th Birth Anniverysary of HIS MAJESTY THE FOURTH DRUK GYALPO, Department of Livestock (DoL) under Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) inaugurated a Conservation Centre for the endangered Golden Mahaseer and Other Native Fishes (CCGM) at National Centre for Aquaculture (NCA) in Gelephu on 6th October. The inaugural event was presided over by His Excellency Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, the honorable Minister for Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. The conservation centre was constructed with fund support from Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project and the DoL’s Government of India. It is a two storeyed structure, with the ground floor being a fish hatchery and the first floor an aquariuam wherein 24 live native fish species are maintained in glass aquaria. The principal species in the aquarium is the endangered Golden Mahaseer. Other native species include the Chocolate mahaseer, eel, catfish, minnows, and native freshwater shrimp. While the hatchery is off-limits for outsiders, the aquarium will soon be opened for educational and leisure visits by the general public.

The main purposes of the conservation centre are as follows:

a)      Hatchery to breed the endangerd Golden Mahaseer and other native fishes for conservation restocking;

b)      Workplace for further research on Golden Mahaseer and other native fishes; and

c)      House of information on Golden Mahaseer and other native fishes.

DSC04815CCGMaquaria3   Aquaria


Bhutan’s attempt to culture the giant freshwater prawn begins…

Bhutan has formally commenced a trial to culture the giant freshwater prawn/ shrimp. On 21/04/2015, the NCA stocked three research ponds on its farm in Gelephu with 30,000 prawn juveniles. The prawn will be reared for about six months at the end of which the costs and benefits of its culture will be evaluated. The final outcome of the trial will be a valuation of the prawn’s potential to become a livelihood enhancement option for Bhutanese farmers and entrepreneurs.

A more detailed story of the trial can be read at


Featured image courtesy of google.


Mega Fish Farm Toward Reducing Import of Fish…

Come November, 2014, and National Centre for Aquaculture (NCA), with support from Regional Centre for Aquaculture (RCA), will commence the implementation of a multi-million Ngultrum project to establish a 60 acre-Mega Fish Farm in Samrang under Samdrupjongkhar. At the time of composing this news, Detailed Project Report (DPR) and mobilization of the estimated required fund had been complete. The establishment of the farm is expected to be complete by October, 2015, and fish production activities would begin by January, 2016; the farm is expected to produce its first harvest of 175 Metric Tonnes of fish by January, 2017.

After establishing it, the mega farm will be owned and operated by the government for the foreseeable future.

The main objective of establishing the farm is to produce fish toward reducing its import which as of 2012 was more than 2000 MT per year (wet and dry fish combined).

Featured image courtesy of google.

Advanced hands-on training on freshwater pond fish culture…

National Centre for Aquaculture (NCA) is all set to conduct a two-day hands-on training on freshwater pond fish culture for District Veterinary Officers (DVO) of selected Dzongkhags, Regional Livestock Development Centre (RLDC) focal officials, Dzongkhag Livestock Extension Officers, and Renewable Natural Resources Research and Development Centre (RNR-DC) Focal Officials. The training shall be conducted from 26 to 27 May, 2014, in Gelephu. The objectives of the training are, among other things, the following:

  1. Acquaint the participants with the principles of pond fish farming;
  2. Disseminate lessons on Aquaculture Best Management Practices;
  3. Acquaint the participants with the fundamentals of fingerling requisitioning and species combination for polyculture;
  4. Acquaint the participants with the basic techniques of conducting feasibility studies to establish fish culture systems;
  5. Empower the participants with the skill necessary to guide the establishment of standard fish farm infrastructure;
  6. Acquaint the participants with the procedure of requisitioning aquaculture support services;
  7. Sensitize the participants regarding the importance of basic fish farming research; and
  8. Acquaint the participants with the basic skills of record keeping and progress reporting in fish farming.

The training is one of a series of major strategies intended to empower livestock officials adequately with fish farming extension service delivery skills so that they in turn will enable the nation’s fish farmers to collectively produce 750 MT of fish by the year 2018. The fund for the training is provided by EU/ GoI Project of Department of Livestock under Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.

This training will be followed by a series of hands-on trainings for farmers.

For more information, please contact Mr. Gopal Prasad Khanal or Mr. Drukpola at the NCA in Gelephu.

Towards reducing the import of fish…

Trade data put Bhutan’s import of fish  in 2012 at 4853 Metric Tonnes (wet weight equivalent) which loosely translates to an outflow of foreign monies, especially the INR, worth at least Nu. 350 millions. Given this, fish farming undoubtedly has a substantial potential to contribute to the country’s efforts to reduce the import of goods to minimize the outflow of foreign monies.

As to Bhutan’s potential to engage in fish farming, it is significant. Dzongkhags like Samdrupjongkhar, Sarpang, Samtse, Tsirang, Dagana, and Pemagatshel have the necessary climatic and topographical attributes to enhance the national output of fish by engaging in large scale fish farming. At the moment, Samdrupjongkhar, the country’s top fish producing Dzongkhag, alone produces some 35 MT per year. If it were to farm fish on Government Reserved Forest (GRF) land, community water bodies, and peripheral wetland that cannot be used for terrestrial agriculture due to depredation by wild elephants and other wild animals, Samdrupjongkhar could increase its yearly fish output by hundreds of tonnes. Other Dzongkhags could do the same. Additionally, the existing fish farming infrastructure in these Dzongkhags could be scaled-up and rendered more sophisticated to increase the national output of fish.

An attractive technology to produce fish that has never been tried in Bhutan is cage culture. An underrated benefit of the several hydro-power generating infrastructure that have been built/ are being built in the country is the usefulness of the water holding dams/ reservoirs therein for the purpose of producing fish. Cages to farm fish could be installed in these waters, and leased out to able farmers’ groups/ cooperatives wherever feasible. Also, hatchery bred fingerlings of fast growing fish species that would not cause appreciable negative environmental impact could be released directly into these impounded waters for harvesting at table size by farmers groups/ cooperatives.

National Centre for Aquaculture (NCA) has prepared a strategy which if executed would enable Bhutan to produce 1500 MT of fish per year by 2015-2016. Executing the strategy would call for huge investments to, among other things, (i) build fish farm infrastructure and farmer based institutions, (ii) enhance the capacity of livestock/ fisheries extension professionals and fish farmers alike, (iii) increase the capacity of input producers/ hatcheries, (iv) put into place an effective marketing system, and (v) improve and diversify cultivable fish species/ breeds. The benefits of the strategy would also be huge; dramatically increased farmers’ income, increased availability of almost-organic fish protein, reduced import of fish, gainful utilization of peripheral wetlands that are otherwise let fallow due to depredation by wildlife, etc. The strategy has been submitted to higher authorities for endorsement.

In the meantime, the NCA continues to provide support to farmers to establish fish farms. At the moment, the centre is engaged in supporting the establishment of 10 commercial sized fish farms in Sarpang, 17 in Samdrupjongkhar, 20 in Samtse, and 8 in Dagana.

If you are interested to establish a fish farm and require assistance/ information, please contact Mr. Gopal Prasad Khanal at the NCA @ 17334742 or Mr. Drukpola @ 17700180.