Four lakh tiger prawn larvae released into rivers at Chemancheri

In an effort to revive the livelihood of inland fishermen in the district, the Department of Fisheries launched a sea ranching project this year by releasing four lakh larvae of tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon). Sea ranching is a process of releasing artificially cultured juvenile fish species into the sea or estuarine waters, allowing them to grow and then harvest them.

The project was launched at Chemancheri grama panchayat in Koyilandy along the banks of the Korapuzha, Vengelam and Meyana rivers.

“Chemancheri has a record of fish conservation and pro-fishing sector welfare initiatives such as Matsya Clubs, which have won awards from the Fisheries Department for good performance. Our good track record has prompted the department to invest in the livelihood of the panchayat’s fishing community,” Anitha Mathilissery, panchayat president, said on Wednesday.

State-wide initiative

“Chemancheri is our first step in sea ranching this year. The programme launched in the panchayat on October 18 was part of a State-wide project to revive fish wealth and provide small fishermen sustenance,” K. Reghu, Deputy Director, Fisheries Department, Kozhikode, said on Wednesday. The district wing of the department has been allotted Rs. 6 lakh this year for the project.

“We have invested Rs.2 lakh on the Chemancheri project. We will now scout for more suitable harvesting spots in harbours and inland waterbodies in the district,” Mr. Reghu said.

The department has preliminarily identified waterbodies at Beypore and Vadakara’s Mooradpuzha. It plans to release juvenile carp fish on November 19, though the department is yet to identify a suitable waterbody.

“Pollution has affected breeding. Unscientific fishing practices and climatic changes have also affected the fishing sector. The worst hit has been inland fishermen,” Ms. Mathilissery said.

As per department statistics, only 20 per cent of the 4 lakh larvae would survive. The harvest can be done after three to four months.

“This will mean 1,600 kg of prawn, and at an average Rs.250 a kg, this will amount to Rs.3 lakh to Rs.4 lakh in returns. But we are not doing this project for profit. It should be seen more as a livelihood opportunity for fishermen,” Mr. Reghu said.

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