Chencho Dema

Wangdue – The Gerichhu water supply system for the Sturgeon Farm in Harachhu, Athang gewog, Wangdue was inaugurated on September 7.

It is expected to ensure a reliable water supply to the Sturgeon fish farm located about 55km away from Bajothang town.

Last year, on December 13, the project to build the water supply for the farm was initiated at Harachhu and successfully completed on August 31, with an estimated budget of Nu 47.6 million. This project involved 93 de-suups.

The Bhutan Sturgeon Farm in Harachhu was initiated by the Department of Livestock under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, considering its potential market and export value.

Sturgeon is highly prized for its valuable caviar and meat

The Sturgeon farm initially began in 2016 at the National Research Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries in Haa as a trial to assess the feasibility of rearing Sturgeon in the country.

Recognising the significant potential of Sturgeon farming, the National Research and Development Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries, under the Department of Livestock, introduced Sturgeon-eyed ova in Bhutan in 2015.

Sturgeon, a type of fish belonging to the Acipenseridae family, is highly prized for its valuable caviar and meat. These fish have a long lifespan, averaging around 60 years, and they mature late. Sturgeon caviar is considered one of the world’s most expensive delicacies, with Serbian Sturgeon caviar fetching USD 1,500 per kg in the global market.

To support the farm’s operations, Siberian Sturgeon eggs were obtained from Thailand for hatchery and nursery rearing. Currently, there are 269 Siberian Sturgeon at the Harachhu farm and 131 at the Haa farm.

In-charge of the Harachhu Sturgeon farm, Bindiya Sharma said that until 2020, the fish were kept in Haa and were transferred to Harachhu after the completion of the sub-station.

“At first, we transferred only 11 fish. We noticed that the fish are growing twice as fast at the Harachhu farm compared to Haa,” she said. In Haa, the fish had an average growth rate of between 1.5kg to 2kg, while at the Harachhu farm, they have grown from 2.5kg to 11kg, currently the largest size on the farm.