Around 200 farms of the country's famous trout fish in Swat Valley including those in Upper Dir, Kohistan, Madyan, Cheil, Mankial and Atror have suffered massive losses because of the recent floods in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Nearly 50,000 kg of trout fish were swept away in the river in minutes because of the flash floods that occurred near the Madyan Trout hatchery in the last few days.
According to the preliminary report prepared by the fisheries department, the Madyan Trout hatchery had a large stock of trout from where it was supplied to various parts of the country including Kalam, Dir, Kohistan, Punjab and Peshawar.
Because of the recent floods, the building of Madyan hatchery collapsed and hundreds of thousands of fish were washed away.
More than 20 privately-built trout fish farms and riverside restaurants in Chiel were also flooded within minutes, causing losses of millions of rupees to the owners.
The calamity is typical of the 2010 floods, in which dozens of trout farms of the area were destroyed in flash floods and heavy rains.
The recent floods have once again damaged the infrastructure in Malakand Division as well as the fish industry on a large scale.
According to Haroon, a resident of Swat Valley, trout has remained the hallmark of his hometown in Cheil area. However, the flash floods destroyed the trout hatcheries in minutes.
In addition, the only state-of-the-art training centre in Malakand has also been reduced to rubble.
Jaffer Yahya, the deputy director of the Trout Culture and Training Centre Swat told The Express Tribune that because of the recent floods, the building of the Training and Research Centre in Madyan had been destroyed.
Students from all over the country, researching on different types of fish in Swat including trout, came to the centre. Millions of Golden Trout fish from Turkey at the main centre were also washed away in the floods. Hundreds of thousands of native trout fish in farms have also been devoured by the calamity.
Trout fish survive in cold water. It cannot survive in flooded or dirty water.
In most cases, the other supply channels of the farms were blocked by sand and mud accumulated by the floods, causing the fish to die.
Subsequently, the farms were also destroyed by the big relay.
Muhammad Rasheed, the owner of a private farm in Madyan and involved in the trade for the past several years, told The Express Tribune that thousands of large trout fish were washed away in the floods
“We used to buy a kilogramme of trout fish from government farms for Rs1,000 and sold it in the market for Rs1,500 to Rs2,000,” he said.
He added like him, several other traders had also constructed trout restaurants along with their farms to cater to the tourists coming from all over the country.
“The recent floods have caused a loss hundreds of millions of rupees to the businessmen involved in fish farms in Malakand,” he noted.
He feared that the fishing community would face immense difficulties in restoring itself after the disaster.