The lush green paddy farms in 16 mandals of two delta areas are fast turning into fish tanks as the aqua farming is rampant in most of the mandals.
Earlier, aquaculture was confined to those mandals which are nearer to sea, but now it has spread to all most all mandals in Konaseema.
The conversion of fertile land suitable for aqua farming is going in a big way as farmers are drifting from agriculture to aqua farming. According to statistics available with the Fisheries Department, prawn culture is spread in 16,000 hectares and freshwater fishing is going on in another 4,055 hectares in the district.
“Saltwater is being used in aquaculture and there is every possibility of groundwater salinity in the entire area. This scenario will affect the abutting farm fields in the long run and force the farmers to switchover to aquaculture,” said Sanjeeva Rao, Fisheries Development Officer, Amalapuram.
The businessmen in the guise of farmers have started purchasing hundreds of acres in Katrenikona, Tallrevu, I. Polavaram, Mummidivaram, P. Gannavaram, Mamidikuduru, Malikipuram, Razole and Sakhinetipalli mandals for aquaculture farming.
“It had become a fashion for every farmer in the Konaseema area to go after prawn culture,” says K. Tattabbai of Kamanagaruvu village.
The farmers have started digging their cultivable lands to start aqua farming in some of the mandals which are nearer to sea. Moreover, the Coastal Regulatory Zone Authority (CRZA) norms are being floated at many places along the coast. “We have brought it to the notice of the Collector. We hope that she will take action on this issue,” said Mr. Sanjeevarao, environmentalist.