In 2003, when the Department of Fisheries transferred the Eranholi fish farm to the Agency for Development of Aquaculture, Kerala (ADAK), it might have hoped for sustainable returns, at the very least.

Until then, the small ponds in the farm were leased out to private parties for short periods, bringing in hardly anything for the department or the small-time entrepreneurs.

A shift in the scene was anticipated with ADAK taking over the farm, but little was done in the initial six years, except for undertaking traditional prawn-filtration incurring more losses, while the renovation work, which resumed in 2009, was completed just recently.

With farming to be initiated in April, people are still doubtful about the potential of the initiative, taking into account the faulty design of the ponds that will make scientific farming impossible. “The interconnected structure of the ponds and absence of separate inlet and outlet canals are the primary hurdles.