Panel to tackle invasive mussels in Pulicat, Ennore

They alleged that the ongoing infestation is aggravated by construction debris dumped within the Kosasthalaiyar for activities, including installing transmission towers.
Fishermen say the trouble created by invasion of alien species has been aggravated by the dumping of construction debris in the Kosasthalaiyar
Fishermen say the trouble created by invasion of alien species has been aggravated by the dumping of construction debris in the Kosasthalaiyar(Photo | Express)

CHENNAI: The state government is likely to form an expert committee to zero-in on best scientific ways to tackle the invasion of ‘Kaaka aazhi’ or ‘Chasu mussels’, an alien species that is widely spreading inside the ecologically sensitive Pulicat bird sanctuary and Ennore Creek.

TNIE found that the invasive species has reached an alarming level, extending up to several kilometres in these areas. If left unchecked, this will soon turn into an ecological disaster that will deplete native life and have ramifications on thousands of migratory birds that visit the region, especially Pulicat. Fishers have already begun complaining of reduction in prawn, crab and fish life, besides wiping out of the locally prevalent and commercially valuable yellow clams (manja matti) and green mussels (pachai aazhi).

A group of fishermen leaders from Pulicat and Ennore along with environmentalists met top government officials, including additional chief secretary Supriya Sahu last week. The meeting was facilitated by G Sundarrajan from Poovulagin Nanbargal.

The delegation, in its representation, said ‘Kaaka azhi’ has pushed the fishermen to the verge of losing their livelihood. In 2022, Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority visited and initiated a micro-plan for removal of the alien mussels at Karukkumaram-Kandachedi Paadu in consultation with fishers in Ennore followed by measures like bathymetry study, mortality test and prepared a detailed project report. But, there was no improvement beyond that.

They alleged that the ongoing infestation is aggravated by construction debris dumped within the Kosasthalaiyar for activities, including installing transmission towers. They demanded the setting up of a committee, that includes fisher representatives, to devise a comprehensive plan to control ‘Kaaka azhi’ and provide compensation for the loss of livelihood.

When contacted, Surpiya Sahu said the government has taken note of the issue. “The environment and fisheries departments will work to expedite the removal of the alien mussels from Ennore and Pulicat. A panel will shortly be formed,” she said.

Fisheries Commissioner Shunchonngam Jatak Chiru said only a holistic and scientific approach will yield results. While some experts recommend dredging, some others say it will not work.

“We need to talk to different people. The government has asked for a proposal and I am working on it. Experts from CMFRI, NIOT will be consulted,” he said.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com