Phuntshothang, Samdrupjongkhar Dzongkhag
Fish farming was introduced in Bhutan during the early 1980’s with the establishment of Fish Seed Production Centre at Gelephu under Sarpang Dzongkhag since then, was only fishery input supply farm in Bhutan. Until 1990s, Samdrupcholing Drungkhag (then known as Bangtar) under the Samdrupjongkhar Dzongkhag was one of the major fish producing area and was the main source of income for the fish farmers. Fish Seed Production Centre at Gelephu mainly served as fish seed production, demonstration centre and as well to train local fish farmers regarding fisheries. Since, then various levels of developments were noticed in field of fish farming and significant numbers of fish farmers have adopted fish farming. Fishery sector in Samdrupjongkhar Dzongkhag especially in Samdrupcholing Drungkhag played vital role in mass fish production where fish has become one of the important sources of animal protein of the farmers in region and witnessed increased consumption pattern of fish.
With increased trend in fish farming in the eastern region, demands for inputs supply have been increased over the years. National Warm Water Fish Culture Centre (NWWFCC), Gelephu was only input supply centre in the country was pressurized to produce adequate fingerlings within the limited capacity and fulfill the demand of fish farmers. Fingerlings mortality was another genuine issue raised by the farmers during transportation especially long distance travels and low survival rate. Hence, Department of Livestock under Ministry of Agriculture and Forests felt urgent establishment of regional fish seed production centre and conceptualized the plan for establishment in the year 1990 in the east to overcome the problems and boost the fish production in the region.
Regional Fishery Development Centre (RFDC) was established in the year 2010 at Bakuli, Phuntshothang Geog under Samdrupcholing Drungkhag at most excellent place for culturing of warm water fisheries. Now, centre is renamed as Regional Centre for Aquaculture (RCA) with reforms of divisions and mandates in the Department of Livestock.Currently the Centre encompasses a total area of 12.69 acres, of which major portion of the area is utilized for fish culture and culture six species of fish viz: Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus), Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitris), Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio), Rohu (Labeo rohita), Mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigal) and Catla (Catlacatla).
The mandate of input supply (fingerlings) in the Eastern Bhutan started during Fiscal Year (FY) 2010-2011 with construction of 6 rearing and 6 nursing ponds. In addition, 10 commercial earthen fish ponds were constructed during FY 2013-2014 for production of table fish to meet the local fish demand and to generate revenue to the Royal Government of Bhutan. In the same year, 1 Fish hatchery unit and 1 feed store was constructed with financial support from the MAGIP project. Until now, the RCA, Phuntshothang is the only Government Farm in the Eastern Bhutan and is mandated to produce and supply quality fingerlings to the fish farmers in the region. As of 2018, RCA, Phuntshothang has recorded 143 functional fish farms in the eastern Bhutan.
Fish farming has been already adopted by many farmers in eastern Bhutan especially in Samdrupjongkhar Dzongkhag. And until 2009, inputs supply were done from National Warm Water Fish Culture Centre (NWFCC), Gelephu was only centre in the country mandated to supply fishery inputs. Because of the lone input supply centre in the country, the pace of development in the eastern region was hindered as the inputs delivery services were delayed and high mortality rate resulted from long distance transportation. This has attributed to lowered domestic fish production and increased import of fish from neighboring countries especially from India to fulfill the domestic requirement. Further, increasing population and subsequent increase in demand for food source, situation would have worsened widening the gap between demand and supply of domestic fish in the region. Hence, establishment of regional fish seed production centre was recognized to be relevant approach to curb input supply service delivery problems, mortality and reduce import of fish thereby curbing the outflow of millions of ngultrum in form of foreign currencies. Therefore, establishment of Regional Centre for Aquaculture (RCA), Phuntshothang seen as a scope for development of fish farming which is mainly attributed to its potential due to favorable geographical and climatic condition.
Title : Regional Centre for Aquaculture
Year Established : 2010
Total Area : 12.69 acres
Total pond Area : 24336 m2
Water surface Area : 23758.5 m2
No.of Nursing ponds : 6 Nos.
No.of Rearing Ponds : 6 Nos.
No.of Brood ponds : 5 Nos.
No. of future brood ponds : 3 Nos.
No.of fingerling ponds : 7 Nos.
No. of table fish ponds : 5 Nos.