Fishermen in the district are being encouraged to set up their own fishponds under the National Mission for Protein Supplement scheme.
The district has plenty of freshwater resources to develop aquaculture and hence, the Fisheries Department has come up with the idea.
Lands that are not suitable for agriculture, along with other ‘D’ group lands, can be utilised for construction of fishponds. This requires a maximum of 12.5 acres.
The unit cost per hectare of water spread area is Rs. 4 lakh and the department will provide 40 per cent of the cost as subsidy to fishermen belonging to the general category and 50 per cent to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes beneficiaries.
The department will provide Rs. 1.6 lakh per hectare to a beneficiary under the general category and Rs. 2 lakh to SC and ST beneficiaries.
H.S. Chandrashekar, Senior Assistant Director, Fisheries Department, told The Hindu on Thursday that fish farmers would be supplied with fingerlings at a meagre price. The department has fish farms in Karimuddanahalli, Nagu, Kabini and as many as six varieties of fishes are being reared there, he said. The fingerlings would be sold to farmers at a nominal price of Rs. 200 to Rs. 400 per thousand fingerlings.
Mr. Chandrashekar said there are over 10,000 fishermen in the district, including 6,600 working fulltime. There are over 103 tanks in the district, which have been leased out to farmers, he said.
A sum of Rs. 500 per hectare would be collected from farmers. Tanks would be leased out once in five years. Last year, the total fish production crossed over 6,094 tonnes in the district.
Fish farmers are being given a ‘net kit’ and other accessories by the department, he said.
Mr. Chandrashekar said apart from motivating farmers to take up fisheries, programmes were being organised to create awareness about the health benefits of consuming fish.