KOCHI:With temperature soaring in the pre-monsoon months, salinity has increased exponentially in the backwaters, resulting in heavy influx of jellyfish that affects traditional fishing adversely. Giving hope to the fisherfolk, Dr B Manoj Kumar, associate professor at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Oceanic Sciences (KUFOS), has developed a simple device to tackle the jellyfish menace.
It is a round iron grid with crossbars attached to the ‘cod-end’ of the stake net commonly used by traditional fishermen. The device will work as a filter and prevent jellyfish from entering the net. “The Jellyfish proliferation, which reaches its peak between March and June, is a big problem faced by fishermen. Their nets get clogged with jellyfish and often get damaged,” said Manoj Kumar.
“The ‘Jellyfish Excluder Device (JFED)’ helps fishermen operate stake nets even during the March-June period. A round grid made of 6-mm steel rod, is attached to the stake net, slanting towards the cod-end at 45 degrees. The device will have sufficient gap between the vertical rods to allow small fish to get in. Weighing just 4 kg, the device costs only Rs 1,500,” he said.
The JFED was tested with the help of local fishermen at Kumbalam a few months ago, and was found very effective in preventing jellyfish from entering stake nets. The only drawback of the device is that once it is attached to the net, big fishes may not enter. When the jellyfish influx wanes by the onset of monsoon and when the salinity decreases, fishermen can disengage the JFED from the gears and resume normal fishing. The research team included Dr Devika Pillai, a faculty at the KUFOS, and Rakesh C G. “A report on the test conducted on the device was submitted to the KUFOS, and I am waiting for a positive response from the university so that it could be further developed and made available to fishermen,” Manoj Kumar added.