The demands for mouth-watering fish varieties including trout fish and chapli kabab have increased manifold after scattered rains and snowfall over the hills of Malakand and Hazara divisions besides Parachinar Kurram district, turning weather extremely cold and muggy, especially at night in KP. A visitor while traveling on historic Qissa Khawani and Namak Mandi bazaars in the bustling city of Peshawar can’t resist tasting fried and grilled fish and chapli kabab being served with traditional Qehwa and spicy sauces in the harsh winter. The tantalizing aroma of trout fish and other varieties often attract foodies to enjoy its delectable taste inside shops and many take parcels for their loved one at home. Peshawar is a unique ancient city for being frequently visited by tourists to relish its delectable traditional foods varieties including mouth-watering chapli kabab, Peshawari rice-polao, and fish varieties mostly brought from Malakand and Hazara divisions as special winter food recipes. Witnessing a roaring business, the fish outlets are flooded with foodies enjoying delectable rainbow and brown trout, mushka, raho, simon, pomfret, mahsher, and lobsters, which are brought from Ghanta Ghar, a hub of fish trade in Peshawar city. The hotel’s owners and even vendors received a deluge of orders for eating at shops and home delivery from residents and visitors enjoying its delicious bites along with loved ones during the peak of the winter season. Ehtisham Khan, an owner of a fish outlet at Ghanta Ghar said trout stock has been brought from Swat and Mansehra districts as a special winter offer to fulfill Peshawaris’ demands. “The recipe for trout fish is very simple and time-efficient. We prepare trout in oil after its proper water wash and cutting. Later, varieties of spicy sauces, pomegranate seed powder, salt, and other species of ingredients are properly mixed. Before making it on medium flame, the fish is properly marinated for about two hours to ensure that all sauces are intact and the color is unchanged and later served to customers with chips, sauces (chatnis), salad and naans,” he added. Ehtisham said most people wanted deep-fried fish, some liked ‘tawa macchi’ and many liked grilled and baked trout fish for eating at shops as well as taking the parcel for their loved ones, adding one-kilogram un-grilled trout was being sold at Rs 2500 to Rs 3000 per kilogram in the open market. Umar Khayam, an employee of the Education Department while eating fish at Qissa Khawani bazaar along with friends told APP that trout was his favorite seafood as its meat was full of proteins and vitamins besides easily digestible. Khayam said he visited Qissa Khwani bazaar to enjoy fish with his friends to beat the cold with traditional Peshawari Qehwa. “When I was young, I visited Swat with my father to enjoy the freshwater brown trout due to its aromatic taste and spiciness amid snowfall. This winter, I did not go to Swat due to the availability of grilled and baked trout fish at Peshawar,” he added. Dr. Ismail Khan, senior children’s specialist, said there was an additional burden on the heart, brains, joints and lungs of weak people and children due to persistent cough, nausea and frosts in winter, adding consumption of fish was the best available choice to help reduce risks of these diseases. Terming fish as the best source of proteins, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, iron, and iodine, he said that consumption of seafood help improve digestion, protects skin from dryness, and relieves joint pains. Muhammad Zubair, Director of Planning and Monitoring, KP Fisheries Department said the demand for fish had increased manifolds in KP during winter and many traders have brought trout stock to local markets to cater to people’s high demands. He said Pakistan can earn substantial revenue by giving special incentives to trout farmers besides the construction of new trout lakes, especially in Malakand and Hazara divisions because of plenty of cold water reservoirs and ideal climate conditions for trout farming. The Trout Village Project (TVP) was launched in Hazara and Malakand divisions under which 93 small and large trout fish farms were established. “Trout farming is a highly profitable business and any farmer having 35 marla land and proper water inflow and outflow system can produce 2,250 kg trout by earning about two million rupees profit after 15 months raring,” he added. He said these farms were established under a 50:50% cost-sharing formula basis contributed by KP Government and farmers mostly in Swat and Mansehra districts. Zubair said the development of cold water fisheries resources costing Rs 1,200 million, a joint venture of Federal and Provincial Governments having a 40:60 pc cost-sharing basis was launched in Malakand and Hazara divisions under which 297 trout lakes would be established. The development of reservoirs for the uplift of fisheries resources costing Rs 500 million project has been approved under which 67 carp fish farms and a model hatchery on 179 kanal at Swabi would be established from where fish seedlings to be provided to private hatcheries and Tarbella dam. With the completion of these projects, he said KP’s fish production would likely increase to 740 metric tons from the existing 400 metric tons in the next few years. Terming water pollution and climate change as a big threat to trout farming, the official suggested a comprehensive mechanism for the disposal of hotel waste in the Malakand and Hazara divisions. Throwing of plastic pollution and hotels effluent drains directly into River Swat and Kunhar are extremely harmful to freshwater trout, he added. Work on a new project “development of fisheries resources in merged areas” has been started and that model coldwater research centre at Madyn Swat with a facility of a fish hatchery where academia and young researchers would be facilitated to conduct research on different issues of aquatic resources. Zubair said the August 2022 floods had inflicted over Rs1,820 million in losses to the fisheries sector in Hazara and Malakand divisions where many carp and trout fish hatcheries were either completely destroyed or damaged. He said Swat was the worst flood-affected district where Madain hatchery was destroyed while Solathern hatchery was also badly damaged by the gushing water, requiring substantial economic resources for its reconstruction.