THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A Kerala State Strategic Plan is on the anvil to give thrust to the fisheries sector that is slowly recovering from the double whammy of Ockhi and floods. The plan that envisions sustainable development of the sector with a three-phased approach also aims to boost the state’s contribution in the field of aquaculture. The proposed plan will be chalked out as part of the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme that outlines a road map for rebuilding the flood-hit state.
“Cyclone Ockhi followed by the floods had affected the fisheries sector severely. But it was the floods that caused extensive damage to the sector as inland fisheries and the aquaculture sectors were badly affected,” said a Fisheries Department officer.
According to the officer, the said plan was devised based on the understanding that only a strategic plan with a phased approach could rescue the sector from the current stagnation.
While short-term measures will focus on the revival of aquaculture and fisheries system and cleaning of water bodies, the medium-term will give priority for strengthening the Kerala Inland and Aquaculture Act, development of fisheries co-management in the marine sector, systematic management of aqua farms, and others.
At the same time, in the draft Rebuild Kerala Development Programme, it has been proposed to introduce modern fish culture-cum-capture technologies in 47 reservoirs.There are also proposals for introducing the system of artificial reefs in feasible areas along the coastline as they can enhance per capita fish catch, setting up 50 hatcheries along the coastline, introducing year-round production model using fish prawns, promoting open ocean aquaculture, promoting Bio-flac (a protein-rich macro-aggregate of organic materials and microorganisms), encourage fish production along with paddy production and others.
The floods had resulted in the aggregate loss of `10,304 lakh in aquaculture and inland capture fisheries.
The draft also proposes certain studies including data on water bodies available for aqua farming, detailed study on various aspects like basic human needs, coastal infrastructure, social security, disaster management and others by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, and Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). It also proposes studies on strategies to increase visibility of the inland capture, disaster response and impact of the exotic fishes released to the open water system from the aquaculture farms due to the floods.