KOCHI: Though Kerala is leading in the production and export of fish, aqua farming in the interior parts of the state has not grown proportionate to its potential, said Fisheries Minister K Babu.
He was speaking after inaugurating the one-day workshop organised in connection with the formulation of an aquaculture policy, at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) here on Saturday.
The minister said that the policy is being formulated for making the state self-sustainable in the field of fish farming.
As part of the initiative, the government has decided to open more larva rearing centres and to increase production at the existing centres.
The minister said that the government’s ‘Matsya Samridhi’ project, implemented through local self-governing bodies in the interior areas, was a huge success.
In the first phase, the project was launched in 787 panchayats where production increased from 1.5 tonne to 2.8 tonne, with the involvement of 56,000 farmers. In the second phase, the project was extended to 906 panchayats and 64,000 farmers were included.
“The government’s aim is to exploit all the possibilities of fish farming in the state so as to increase production and make fish available to the public at low prices,” he said.
At the workshop, a 12-member aquafarming committee that was constituted for policy formulation submitted its draft policy.
Establishing model aquaculture farms at district-level, entrusting the right to cultivate fish in public water bodies with the Fisheries Department and setting up of multi-species larva rearing centres are some of the suggestions in the draft policy.
Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies ( KUFOS ) Vice-Chancellor B Madusoodana Kurup, Pro-Vice-Chancellor C Mohan Kumar, Fisheries director Mini Antony, research students and farmers’ representatives took part in the seminar.