Rain revives fish farming in Sathanur dam near Tiruvannamalai

Local fishermen and officials of the Department of Fisheries releasing fish in Sathanur dam near Tiruvannamalai.

Local fishermen and officials of the Department of Fisheries releasing fish in Sathanur dam near Tiruvannamalai. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Fish farming has been revived in the Sathanur dam near Tiruvannamalai town for the season following continuous rain in the recent weeks, which increased the flow of water into the dam.

Officials of the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation (TNFDC), which maintains fish farms in the dam, said fish cultivation including harvesting was done in the dam during the months of May to August as the water level had risen due to the Southwest monsoon. It led to slow evaporation that, in turn, helped in retaining adequate oxygen level in the dam’s farming area.

Also, as water level is steady, fishing is also safe. “Local fishermen from neighbouring Mallikapuram village have been doing the job since 1967, when fish farming began in the dam. Such roping of local skilled workers helps in preventing poaching, and provides jobs for them,” V. Ramkumar, Assistant Manager, TNFDC (Sathanur dam), told The Hindu.

At present, fish farming in the dam is being done in 101 nursery ponds including six breeding ponds in the dam area, covering at least 2,000 hectares— the second-largest area coverage for a dam for the purpose after Bhavanisagar reservoir in Erode district (7,728 hectares). Currently, eight reservoirs— three in Erode (Bhavanisagar, Perumpallam and Uppar Dam), two in Tirupur (Amaravathy and Thirumoorthy), one in Coimbatore (Aliyar), one in Dindigul (Palar Poranthalar), and the Sathanur dam— have been involved in this exercise for many years.

At Sathanur dam, Catla, Roya and Mithila are the preferred freshwater fish varieties. These are cultivated with acumen involving local fishermen and officials of the fisheries department. These fish were chosen for their speedy growth and good taste. After weighing over one kg in three months, they were left in six rearing ponds, also known as catching ponds in the dam area. To maintain the fish growth, over six lakh fish were left in the dam area by the fisheries department a few days ago.

Divided into forenoon and afternoon, fishing in the dam was carried out by 37 units of local fishermen. It was closely monitored by officials. Each unit has at least two fishermen in a coracle, with a target of 20kg per team everyday. In other words, fishing should yield at least 0.5 tonnes (500 kg) every day, especially during the peak month of August. The fishermen are paid on a daily basis. Of the total catch, one-third goes for local consumption, while the rest goes to government-run stalls and buyers in the State.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 10:57:44 pm |