Almost all the water tanks in the district have dried up due to lack of rain and drought. This has badly affected the Fisheries Department as there are no takers for the fish seeds. The breeding of fish, which generally starts from May every year, is yet to take off due to scarcity of water.
As many as 173 tanks come under the department, 6 under the Forest Department and 688 minor tanks are controlled by the gram panchayat(891 in total).
Almost all the tanks have dried up as monsoon was poor and the State government declared the district as drought hit.
The Fisheries Department generally auctions nearly 1.5 to 2 crore fish seeds. With only 45 per cent of rainfall recorded in the district, it is facing hurdles to distribute the fish seeds to the fishermen. This year, it has managed to dispose of only 47 per cent of seeds through auction and could generate `35 lakh only.
In January, the department auctioned fish seeds in Maddur taluk. But the fishermen did not participate in the auction stating that there is no water in their tanks. As a result, the department suffered huge losses.
With no water in the canals, agriculture is badly affected in the region. The Fisheries Department is facing a similar problem as it is not getting even 10 per cent of the tanks for the fisheries. Meanwhile, fish rearing activities are being carried out only in perennial lakes like Thonnur Lake.
In Malavalli taluk, fish breeding is taking place at three places in the reservoirs with an area of 495 hectares and in Srirangapatna, fish production is on in an area of 13,419 hectares.
At K R Pet, Maddur, Malavalli and Srirangapatna fish is grown on riverside, canals and lake sides.
In 2009-10, the fish production in the district was 8,294 metric tonnes and in 2010-11, it came down to 7,965.23 metric tonnes.
There are 40 registered fishermen societies in the district which participate in the auction of fish seeds. There are 22 fish farms in the department from where the seeds will be distributed. If there is any deficit, then seeds will be purchased from neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh. But the fishermen are stayed away from auction.
Deputy Director of Fisheries Department R K Doreswamy said around 2,000 metric tonnes fish production has been affected in the district.
Doreswamy said the consumption of fish in district is 2.5 tonnes in this time. But due to the shortage of production, it has reduced to 400 to 500 kgs.
“With no water, this is the right time to clear the weeds and silts from the lakes and tanks,” Doreswamy suggested.
Meanwhile, the rate of the fish for 1.5 to 2 kgs has gone up to Rs 150 what was earlier was just Rs 50 to 70.