Kochi: The devastating floods have severely affected the inland fishers with the Fisheries department estimating the loss in the worst-hit Ernakulam region alone to be over R 8.70 crore as over 2,500 fish farming units got ravaged by the deluge.
The inland aquaculture was the main source of livelihood for people, especially in rural areas such as Thiruthipuram, Kottuvally, Kuzhuppiilly and Chenda-mangalam among others.
“The loss incurred by the inland aquaculture sector is R 8.70 crore while 587 hectares of farming was affected. We’ve submitted a report in this regard to headquarters for planning the compensation package and the rehabilitation process,” said S. Mahesh, deputy director, Ernakulam Zone, fisheries department.
A large section of people in rural areas indulged in pen and cage fish farming, thanks to ‘Adoption programme’ of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) and the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) aimed at generating employment for village youths.
The loss incurred by individual farmers is estimated to be R 5 lakh to R 60 lakh per unit, according to a preliminary survey conducted by the KUFOS. This included commercially valuable fish species like Pearl spot (Karimeen), Sea bass (Kalanji) and Red Snapper (Chempalli).
“We had supported 63 self-help groups to establish Pen and Cage culture units in Ernakulam on an experimental basis, but all of them were hit by the flood,” said Dr Daisy C. Kappen, Director of Extension, KUFOS.
“We lost fully grown Red Snapper, Pearl Spot and Asian sea bass worth Rs 19 lakh from our cages in the flood. We’re planning to conduct the harvest during Onam expecting a high price,” said Arun K.S. of Chendamangalam village.
P.D. Jenson of Puthenvelikkara village suffered a loss of nearly R 47 lakh. “I’ve been successfully operating the farm for at least five years and had a stock of over one lakh fishes of eight commercial varieties. I lost not only the fish stock, but the cages and farming equipment in the flood,” Jenson rued.
The flood also damaged nearly 500 Chinese nets erected on banks of backwaters of Kodungallur, North Paravur, Chennamangalam and Varapuzha got destroyed. “It cost a minimum Rs five lakh to erect a Chinese net,” said Gopinathan V S of North Paravur.