An expert study on the problem of siltation in the basin of the mouth of the fishing harbour here has recommended a new breakwater and extension of one of the existing two breakwaters.

Pune-based Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), which was entrusted with the study on the problem of heavy siltation in the Mappila Bay fishing harbour here and to recommend alternative proposals, has proposed the construction of a 300-m new breakwater near Thayyil — 500 m east of the existing one along the harbour — and the extension of the existing breakwaters near the Fort St. Angelo by 200 m.

The problem of siltation in the fishing harbour is so heavy that only fishing crafts with inboard engine can enter the basin. Large mechanised boats are not able to enter the harbour. During the low tide, 70 per cent of the basin is exposed. The fishing harbour is yet to be full-fledged because of the siltation problem. 

Harbour Engineering Department (HED) officials have already started preparing a project proposal on harbour re-engineering on the basis of the recommendations in the CWPRS study. HED Executive Engineer B.T.V. Krishnan said the project report to be submitted to the government would be ready by mid October.

He said the siltation rate predicted by the CWPRS after the construction of the new breakwater and extension of the existing ones is 5,800 cubic metre per year. The fishing harbour can afford to have a siltation rate of up to 20,000 cubic metre per year, he added.   

The HED is planning for the total upgrade of the fishing harbour to make the facility full-fledged. The harbour, commissioned 14 years ago, has a 20-hectare water-spread and a basin for berthing 600 mechanised boats and an auction hall. The plan was to develop the harbour, ensuring all the quality control and food safety norms of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Mr. Krishnan said. While the existing auction hall would be developed into a facility exclusively for export varieties, a separate auction hall will be earmarked for the varieties for the local market, he added.