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It’s not just the ailing citizens of Kashmir who have access to medical care, but also its aquatic life. The fish in Kashmir also have their own hospital.

The state is only the second in the country to have a fisheries hospital, and has even launched a ‘fish health app’ for farmers.

Established by the Faculty of Fisheries at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), the fish hospital at Rangil in Ganderbal district will cater to about 300 fish farmers from the state.

“We started a fish health survey from 2014 under a centrally sponsored scheme. We collected details from 300 farmers and found they suffer huge losses due to diseases to the fish. There was also a 30-40 per cent decrease in their annual harvest due to disease. We discussed the issue with stakeholders, and felt this facility can benefit them,” said Dr Feroz Ahmad Shah, head of department, Aquatic Animal Health Management, Faculty of Fisheries.

There will be a three-tier diagnostic procedure at the hospital, where doctors find out pathogens and disease. Later, experts will suggest remedial measures and inform farmers about the medication procedure to cure the fish.

“For instance, if a farmer who has 10,000 fish in his/her farm finds out about the strains of disease, he brings representatives’ morbid samples to us. We then take the samples for proper diagnosis, find out which medication is best suited, and recommend this to the farmers,” Dr Shah said.

And farmers who cannot visit the facility personally can contact the hospital, which will send an expert for sample collection. “We regularly visit the farmers and take the samples for diagnosis in our facility. And everything is free of cost,” said Dr Shah.

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