KOCHI: With cage fishing fast becoming popular across the state, the Fisheries Department is set to introduce sea cage farming in the state's coastal districts aimed at supporting the fishers there.
It is under the Blue Revolution programme jointly funded by the Centre and state government the sea cage farming is being undertaken. Mahesh S, Deputy Director, Fisheries Department, told Express this is the department's maiden venture into sea cage farming.
"The project is implemented through groups comprising fishermen from the coastal areas. The project will be introduced in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam and Kannur. The cage will be installed at a depth of at least 10 m. Each unit will cost around Rs 3.5 lakh and the government will provide a subsidy of Rs 1.75 lakh," he said.
The cages will be of 10 m diameter and each unit will be provided with four cages. "Seabass (Kalanji) will be bred in each cage. Since 'Kalanji' is a much sought after delicacy and fetches a good price, the units can bring in good profits. In Ernakulam, we have shortlisted the groups. After Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, the project will be implemented here," he said.
The CMFRI will be providing technical support for the project as well. Earlier, the sea cage fishing project was successfully tried out in Thiruvananthapuram.
In Ernakulam, brackish cage fishing is immensely popular. According to the Fisheries Department, around 45 cage fishing units had been functioning last year. "In brackish cages, mostly Pearl Spot and Seabass are bred. Similarly, we are promoting aquaculture in paddy farms. Since the majority of farmers breed shrimps, we are promoting other fishes like Tilapia. Attractive subsidies are provided by the Fisheries Department to promote aquaculture by groups and individuals," an officer said.
The department also runs several aquaculture promotion programmes like 'Janakiya Matsya Krishi' and model farming. Seeds are provided by the department, with technical support also provided. "In Ernakulam, more people are coming forward to take up fish farming. People having a small pond or fish tank can breed fish. While demand for fish is high, fish farming is certainly a source for generating revenue now," he said.