The decision was taken as part of the Union Government’s initiative to bolster fisheries development and intensive aquaculture farming across the country.
If things go as planned, mass aquatic fish production will ramp up manifold in both these places, prompting the implementation of this model in other reservoirs in the state on a commercial basis.
“As many as 96 cages- 48 for Palakkad and 48 for Kannur- measuring 6mx4m will be set up in the reservoir, and fingerlings will be stocked and reared in these specially-designed cages," said Shiny CK, the officer in charge of the project in Kannur.
“We expect to produce 750 kg of fish from a 100 square meter cage and a total of 18,000 kg from a cage with an area of 2,400 square metre. The fish are fed with supplementary feeds to stimulate growth and gain immunity against diseases. Harvesting can be done twice a year.”
Around 2,000 to 3,000 fingerlings can be reared in a cage, she said.
“The farmers who have been identified for running the project have been in this field for many years, and hence they are technically skilled in this mode of farming,” added Ms Shiny.
The project will be implemented in the state before the onset of the monsoon. “Once the monsoon sets in, managing these floating cages will be difficult due to strong undercurrents,” she said.
As many as 16 farmers, eight from each district, have been identified and undergone training in cage farming at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Karwar in Karnataka.
“The farmers will be given Rs 300 as daily wages in addition to the profit share they will receive after each harvest. The project, which was formulated in 2012-13 with an estimated cost of Rs 500 cr, is the result of the co-ordinated efforts of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and National Mission for Protein Supplements (NMPS)."