Union Ministry of Forests and Environment’s revised norms on ornamental fish and pet animal rearing and exhibition have cast a shadow over the lives of thousands of entrepreneurs in the sector.
Ornamental fish rearing is emerging as one of the sustainable entrepreneurial ventures in the State. In Wayanad alone, more than hundred farmers depend on the industry, says K. Saseendran, a progressive farmer at Thekkumthara in the district.
The new regulations have put curbs on rearing of 158 species of ornamental fishes in glass bottles and their exhibition and sales. Directives that fish-rearing centres should employ a full-time veterinarian or fisheries expert along with an assistant to monitor the health of fishes and that such centres should not be set up adjacent to livestock and bird rearing centres have put the farmers in a fix, Mr. Saseendran, who runs an ornamental fish hatchery, says.
Also, the strict norms on breeding of dogs and sale of pups will affect thousands of kennels.
Pet-dog rearing has emerged as a self-employment venture in the State. As per the new guidelines, kennels can be established only under the supervision of registered veterinarians.
“At a time when pet animal and ornamental fish rearing are emerging as potential employment ventures in the State, the revised norms may affect entrepreneurship in the sector,” said T.P. Sethumadhavan, Director of Entrepreneurship, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. “As the industry ensures a sustainable income through its immense export potential, thousands of unemployed youths turned to this sector to earn a living,” he said.
However, A. Ramachandran, Vice Chancellor, Kerala University for Fisheries and Oceanographic Studies, said the university would try to facilitate the implementation of the new regulations as they would help control unscientific practices in the sector.
The banned 158 species were marine fish varieties and the new norms had not banned rearing of freshwater fish varieties, Dr. Ramachandran said, adding that 95% of the fish reared in ornamental fishing was freshwater fishes.