KOCHI: As the Matsyafed-owned fish farm-turned-ecotourism centre in Njarakkal is fast becoming a hit among domestic and foreign tourists, the Tourism Department has decided to modernise it.
The idea behind the move being to turn the destination into a tourism hotspot in Ernakulam, modernisation plans include new boating equipment and sightseeing facilities.
Matsyafed managing director Lawrence Herald said modernisation worth Rs 12 crore will be initiated at the Njarakkal fish farm cum ecotourism-tourism centre.
"We have sought Rs 48 crore from the government for modernising our fish farms and to promote it as an ecotourism centre," he said.
"From this, we have requested an urgent release of Rs 12 crore. This fund will be used to develop Njarakkal and Malippuram fish farms."
As part of the modernisation, a musical fountain and an aqua show facility will be introduced at the Njarakkal fish farm to attract more tourists. Fancy lights will be installed along the banks of the fish pond and modern boats will be introduced. The tourists will be provided facilities to witness 'fish jumps' while cruising on speed boats. "The restaurant facilities will be modified into a modern eatery. We will add to the basic facilities for the tourist," the MD said.
Though the Njarakkal fish farm has been operational for the past 10 years, it was turned into an ecotourism centre only a couple of years back. Located around 14 km from Kochi city, the 45-acre area was converted into three ponds to nurture various varieties of fish.
"We have thirutha (grey mullet), karimeen (pearl spot), poomeen (milkfish) and tilapia," said farm manager Nisha P.
"We have speed boats, pedal boats, traditional rowing boats and boats in the shape of a basket. Recently, we introduced water cycle and kayaking facilities. We also have bamboo huts in the middle of the fish pond where tourists can relax and have lunch."
The entry fee to the farm, from 10 am to 6 pm, is Rs 250 for adults on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, the ticket price increases to Rs 300. Tourists looking to spend time at the farm from 3 pm to 6 pm will be charged only Rs 100 on weekdays. It goes up to Rs 150 on weekends and holidays.
Tourists are given a welcome drink while entering the farm. The lunch, with a variety of dishes made of fish caught from the farm, is provided free of cost. Tourists can also enjoy angling and the fish caught can be taken home on a payment.
"A number of tourists visit the fish farm daily. We have trained guards who assist the visitors. Water sports lovers too can enjoy the facilities, including boating and kayaking," Nisha said.