In a boost to a popular facility, the city will soon get more mobile fish stalls. Two such stalls already exist, and sell whole as well as dressed fish across different localities.
Minister for fisheries, K.A. Jayapal, on Wednesday announced that eight more vehicles would be procured at a total cost of Rs. 80 lakh for the State. A majority of these vans would be pressed into service in Chennai, where there are still untapped markets, he said.
Moving the demand for the fisheries department, he said that in order to improve the marketing of hygienic fish and fish products, existing fish markets in Chennai, Coimbatore and Tirupur — being run by the department — would be modernised at a cost of Rs. 36 lakh. There are three such markets in Chennai at Nandanam, Anna Nagar and Adyar.
The city will also get one more State-run restaurant in Neelankarai. At present, there are fish restaurants in Santhome and Nandanam that are run by the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation (TNFDC).
In 2012-13, sales of fish touched 370 tonnes, and peaked on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On Sundays alone, two tonnes of fish are sold through various outlets in the city. With the government providing funds for more outlets, sales are likely to increase, he said. This year, the target has been set at 450 tonnes.
The Minister also said that as announced by the Chief Minister recently, a fish festival will be held in Chennai from May 9-12 at the Island grounds. At the festival, a variety of ornamental fish, fresh water fish and marine fish will be displayed. Competitions, including those for aquarium hobbyists as well as for fish food recipes, will be conducted.
For those in the fish processing industry, attractions will include aquaculture inputs, machinery for aquaculture and fish processing and fishing equipment.
A total of Rs. 1 crore will be spent on the festival that is to be conducted in association with the TNFDC and the Tamil Nadu State Apex Cooperative Federation Ltd.