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Government to Enhance Aquaculture with New Policy

INDIA - The state government proposes to come up with a state aquaculture policy to enhance cultured fish production in the state.

The TimesOfIndia reports that the fisheries department has put forth the proposal for cabinet approval. It has also come up with a government order notifying the setting up of a 11-member expert panel to propose recommendations for an effective policy.

The names of international aquaculture expert M N Kutty as the chairman of the panel and the fisheries joint director as the panel convenor has been proposed. The other names have not been finalised but experts from universities and fishery institutions will be among the members.

"A policy is needed to look at ways to enhance fish production in the state, which has a high potential for aquaculture. Yet Kerala's contribution is less than two per cent of the country's production," said fisheries minister K Babu.

He said there were a lot of pokkali farms (paddy cultivated in water with low salinity) that also had aquaculture and added, "We need to promote inland fisheries culture".

The government is also looking at the resources, fields that can have only one crop at a time and also the leasing policy for fish farming. "At present, the land can be leased for just one year. But no bank lends loan for such a short lease period. So, the policy will look into such issues," said Mr Ajayan, joint director, fisheries department, Thiruvananthapuram. He said there were factors of pollution and inland fisheries development that needed to be looked into, and rules formulated accordingly.

"We have to look at the zonation of water bodies and Kol wetlands to identify where aqua farming can be done," said C Mohanakumaran Nair, pro-vice-chancellor, Kerala Fisheries University. On the problems of aquaculture in the state, he said there were several environmental and socio-economic aspects that would need serious discussions.

Lucy Towers

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