The Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research, a premier research institute of Indian Council of Agricultural Research for the coldwater fisheries and aquaculture in the country is working towards the development of coldwater fisheries sector in the country. The Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research (DCFR) came into existence on 24 September 1987 during the VII Five Year Plan as National Research Centre on Coldwater Fisheries (NRCCWF). Later on the NRCCWF has been renamed as Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research (DCFR) during XI Five Year Plan.
The Directorate has developed technologies for the upland aquaculture and hill resource management for sustainable utilization and development of fishery resources in coldwater regions of the country. Rainbow trout is high priced and low volume fish which forms a sizable fishery in North-West Himalayas. Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are promising state to expend the trout culture. The Directorate has extended its efforts to promote trout culture in private sector of Sikkim and initiated trout farming in Leh region.
The Directorate has made sincere efforts in introducing new candidate species in hill aquaculture. The Directorate has established protocol for breeding practices of minor carps; Labeo dyocheilus, L. dero and chocolate mahseer; Neolissocheilus hexagonolepis. The performances are being evaluated before their introduction in culture system.
The Directorate has developed multi-tier model of culturing fish in polythene lined- irrigation tanks in mid altitudinal region; the model have numerous merits base on its cost which is easily affordable, promote diversifying smallholder-farming systems and it reduces unproductive hibernation period of fish thereby giving more profit.
The institute has taken up a programme on to investigate the fish pathogens that may pose threat to coldwater fishery. The network has been developed for effective disease reporting and surveillance in trout producing states. The farmers are trained with good management practices (GMP) for trout farming.
Breeding techniques of indigenous snow trout and mahseer was achieved and were tried to introduce in culture practices but were not found suitable as they have very slow growth. Genetic improvement programme in these species are to be taken up using genomics and transcriptome profiling. The Institute has taken up work on Molecular genetic characterization of snow trout and mahseer from different geographical locations to identify the population with high genetic diversity populations which would be used in genetic improvement programme in future.
Information on coldwater fisheries resources is being updating using geoinformatics which includes resource mapping and locating potential sites for aquaculture that would help in computing real potential of the sector.
The challenge ahead for the Directorate is to develop approaches that are realistic and achievable in the context of current social, economic, environmental and political circumstances. Such approaches should not only focus on increasing production; they should focus on producing a product that is affordable, acceptable and accessible to all section of society.