An eco-friendly artificial reef programme initiated by Kerala State Bio-diversity Board in Thiruvananthapuram has become a success with fish catch in the area showing a good increase.
The project titled People’s Artificial reef’s programme, began by the Board in March last off the coast of a fishing hamlet here, has ensured a good fish catch for the local community, Board Chairman Oommen V Oommen said.
The fishermen got catch worth about Rs 80,000 to Rs one lakh from these locations where the artificial reef were deposited, Oommen said. As the artificial reef was put at about three Km from the shore, the fishermen could even fish with their traditional boats without outboard engine, he said.
Even a small catch helped them to save fuel coast which normally comes to around Rs 3000 for overnight fishing activities, he said. We spend only Rs 30,000 on the project, he said, adding, it was an eco-friendly initiative to increase fish production as well as to conserve bio-diversity, Oomen said.
The reef help in recolonisation of the coastal waters, provide artificial fish habitat and thereby help in attracting, aggregating and regenerating pelagic, demersal, migratory and residential fishes. An artificial reef develops into a fish habitat when barnacles, algae, oysters, mussels and other sessile organisms colonise these reefs, it was pointed out.
They provide living space and shelter from predators and a suitable substratum for attachment of eggs and thus serve as spawning ground in addition to functioning as a feeding ground. The reefs were manually built at about 30 fathoms covering an area of 50 sq mts at a distance of 2-3 km away from the shore using nine unused boats.
The boats were sunk along with coconut peduncles to create an underwater habitat for fish with the active involvement of local fishermen. The materials used were such that benthic vegetation could aggregate quickly to ensure ecological succession and a stable ecosystem in the near future.
Commercially important species like Caranx sexfasciatus, Stolephorus indicus and Stolephorus indicus has been netted from the area, he said.
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