Vembanad Lake to have fish sanctuaries

February 07, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:47 am IST - ALAPPUZHA:

Fish breeding willbe facilitated bythe ‘paddal’ systemof farming

Fish sanctuaries to facilitate breeding of various kinds of fish are being set up in the public-private participatory mode in Vembanad Lake.

The project, funded by the Environment and Climate Change wing of the State government, is being taken up by the Vembanad Lake Protection Forums and Community Environmental Resource Centre (CERC) of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a non-government organisation, in association with the Mannanchery grama panchayat in Alappuzha.

A fund of Rs.2 lakh has been sanctioned for the project aimed at providing a natural habitat for fish.

Small groups of local fishermen and guides have been entrusted with the task of setting up five fish sanctuaries in the lake, which has been affected by pollution.

Each sanctuary will be set up in about 20 to 30 cents, according to Ashish Mathew George, a programme officer of the NGO.

The sanctuaries, with fencing of bamboo poles, are prepared by keeping branches of cashew trees and mango trees in the water to facilitate fish breeding.

Fish sanctuaries, known as Matsyathavalams, are prepared by using branches of cashew and mango trees, called ‘paddals.’

Traditionally paddal fishing was practised in Vembanad Lake. The submerged bundles of foliage provide an ideal habitat for the fishes and the fishermen used to encircle the paddals and catch the entire fish in the area, Mr. Ashish told The Hindu .

A bamboo fencing is provided to prevent other fishermen from entering it. The local fishing community preserved such areas as sanctuaries.

The fisherfolk avoid fishing in the area and spread the message among others.

Lake Protection Forum members keep vigil to prevent fishing within the non-fishing zones.

Fishermen have found the system a healthy ground for reproduction of fish.

A study on the scope of increasing fish wealth through the fish sanctuaries was conducted by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, St. Albert’s College, Ernakulam. The study said the conservation intervention based on the traditional ecological knowledge would be helpful to sustain the lake ecology, its biodiversity, contributing to the sustenance of livelihood of local fisherfolk.

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