Despite the ban by the Central government on the carnivorous Thai Mangur fish, many fish farmers are still cultivating it in Kumaon’s US Nagar, officials said Monday.
“We have identified 17 fish farmers who are cultivating Thai Mangur in Kashipur and Jaspur areas of the district. Since it is illegal to rear or sell such a variety of fish, we are sending notices to them to destroy their fish ponds or we will be forced to do it ourselves,” said Ravindra Kumar, senior inspector, fisheries department, US Nagar.
Around 280 fish farmers are engaged in fish farming in US Nagar. Officials said some of them have been identified for cultivating Thailand catfish commonly known as Thai Mangur. Its cultivation is considered bad for biodiversity, especially other local fish species.
Kumar said, “Basically it is African cat fish but it is commonly known as Thai Mangur. At the beginning of 2019, the Central government had banned its cultivation and NGT has also issued instructions for the elimination of such a variety of fish in 2000 and for forming a task force at block level to restrict such fish farming.”
Kumar said this particular fish was imported in the late 1980s. Later studies showed its disadvantages and negative impact on the indigenous fish and aquatic life. Finally, the Central government issued an order to ban Thai Mangur in 2019, said Kumar.
“Since this fish is carnivorous and feeds on meat, it also pollutes the water bodies. This fish is carnivorous and also eats other fish and thus affects the local fish populations,” said Kumar.
The official from the fisheries department also revealed that Thai Mangur grows faster and gains weight of 3 to 4 kilograms in just 2 to 3 months.
“Many farmers cultivate this fish despite the ban as it gives high returns on low investment. Apart from this, it has good sale value as it is a poor man’s delicacy as it is available between Rs 80 to 100 per kg,” he said.
The official added that reports from other areas of the district have also been sought. Last year also complaints of Thai Mangur cultivation were received and notices were issued to fish farmers, he added.