Kochi

Farmers urge Kerala government to regulate aquaculture sector

Aqua farmers have appealed to the State government to intervene to regulate fish farming in the State in such a way that the farmers receive remunerative prices for the produce and to ensure that fair practices are followed.

According to the Kerala Fish Farmers' Association, there are around 12,000 registered fish farmers in the State and also others who take up fish farming without licence. The activity, like dairying, had become a means of livelihood for such people, said a fish farmer and former president of the association Reji Poothara.

He said several farmers used slaughterhouse and poultry waste as feed for the fish while others depended only on fish feed available in the market. There were differences in the cost of production in the two practices, said Mr. Poothara, who has been cultivating genetically improved farmed tilapia as well as other fishes.

K.K. Vijayan, the former director of the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture in Chennai, said Kerala had great potential for aquaculture, but it was not being utilised. He said the State needed commercial grade hatcheries to produce quality seeds of commercially important fishes as well as commercial feed mills to produce quality formulated feeds. It would encourage more farmers and entrepreneurs to come into the field because aquaculture was a great opportunity to generate employment and income for people, he said, adding that public-private partnership in aquaculture was needed.

Dr. Vijayan said aquaculture needed attention and hard work for positive results. The cultivation of fish not only generated job opportunities but also opened a window to food security. He said states such as Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu were much ahead of Kerala in aquaculture, especially in shrimp production. The State must intervene in a serious manner to encourage and support aquaculture using its vast aquatic resources, he said. While the total aquaculture production in the country was over a million tonnes, Kerala's production was only around 50,000 tonnes, he said.

Thomas Abraham, an aqua farmer in Pathanamthitta district, said the availability of feed and fish seeds was a huge problem. He said farmers who used waste materials to feed fish were able to sell their produce at much lower prices than those cultivating fish using approved feed materials.


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2022 7:34:03 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/farmers-urge-kerala-government-to-regulate-aquaculture-sector/article65539818.ece