|POTENTIAL UTILITY: Small aquaculturists like Murali in Chennai nurture great hopes for their future, thanks to the upcoming ornamental fish aquapark.|
The five-acre park will have 100-150 units for breeding ornamental fish. It will boast of research and development laboratories and quarantine facilities, besides a unit for exports, according to Fisheries Director S. Vijayakumar.
The park, to be set up with support from the Marine Products Export Development Authority under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will cost roughly Rs. 3 crore.
For the unorganised segment already involved in ornamental fish breeding in the State, the news that quarantine facilities will be set up comes as a great relief.
R. Rajarajan, president, Tamil Nadu Aquarium Fish Breeders and Sellers Welfare Association, says the biggest problem is the lack of quarantine facilities that prevent imports of ornamental fish stock. “Till now they have to be carried illegally in hand luggage and are confiscated mostly during Customs check,” he says.
Currently no relaxation is possible in import because there is no facility in the State to quarantine the fish before they can be brought into town for being reared. “If imports are to be allowed, quarantine zones are essential, and the upcoming facility at Manimangalam will be able to provide it,” says Mohan Sundaram, general manager, Fisheries Development Corporation.