Rainbow Trout Fish Farming

NEPAL - Fish were the first vertebrate that appeared on earth. There are almost 25 thousand types of fishes and Rainbow Trout is one among them. Scientifically, it is known as Oncorhynchus mykiss. Very few people know about it, but, at the same time, farming of this special rainbow colored fish has already begun as the cold-water fish culture in the mid hills of Nepal.

Rainbow Trout is not a native species of Nepal. It was introduced in Nepal for the first time in the late 1960s and early 1970s from UK, Japan and India. It could not survive due to the lack of technical expertise and was re-introduced from Japan in 1988. During the period, the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) developed the breeding and culture technology for this species. The farming of rainbow trout has then been initiated with the involvement of public and private sectors as well.


Rainbow Trout is a carnivorous species that requires high protein feeding and well oxygenated water. In nature it feeds on aquatic insects, small crustaceans and small fishes. It could be cultured using artificial feeding of not less than 20 to 30 percent of animal protein. Depending on quality of the diet and temperature, Rainbow Trout takes 12-14 months to reach marketable size (200-300g) from free-swimming larvae. "It is more economical to reach marketable size as soon as possible" (Huet, 1975).

There is full scope of Trout culture in Nepal. The prime factors required for Trout culture are water resource and the water temperature. It needs an abundant regular flow of cold and clean water in raceway ponds, with sufficient oxygen content. Trout is able to live within a temperature range of 0-25�C, and it grows best at the water temperature range of 10-20�C. Being a mountainous country, the natural water resources such as spring water and river (glacier and snow melt) water are suitable for Trout culture which are available in different part of mid-hills area of the country.

Another facet for Trout culture development in Nepal is sound technical background. NARC and Fisheries Research Centre have already developed the technical know-how required for Trout culture. The research centres as such have successfully developed hatching, breeding, feeding and disease control measures.

Furthermore, a preliminary analysis carried out revealed that Trout farming in Nepal is economically viable. With a cost of about NRs 255 to produce 1 kg of Trout, which is sold for NRs 300/kg in Government Farm and provides a profit of NRs 45 per kilogram. This gives a 19.5 percent rate of return on initial cost, and the rate of return with operating cost is 17.6 percent. This is a good opportunity for the Trout farmers in the private sector as well from the investment point of view.

At present, the price of Trout in Government Farm is NRs 300 per kilogram whereas it is NRs 700 to 750 in private farms. There are 12 Trout farmers in the private sector, all located in Nuwakot district. These farmers produce Trout in their own ponds and sell these to different supermarkets in Kathmandu and to the visitors of their farm either in raw or cooked form. The annual production of Trout is estimated to 16 metric tons and it is increasing each and every year. It is self explanatory that Trout farming has good internal market opportunity in the country.

Source: The Rising Nepal


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