Inclement weather conditions under the influence of cyclonic storm Remal’s effect has affected pisciculture in West Godavari and Krishna regions in India. Fish farmers are selling the produce at throwaway prices of `30 to `40 against the normal price of `100 to `120 a kg. Several parts of AP are reeling under severe heat wave conditions this summer. Remal caused heavy rainfall and cloudy skies. This resulted in oxygen levels falling in the freshwater fish ponds. These dipped to three ppm against the normal level of five to seven ppm.

With no sunlight for a long period due to rainfall or cloudy skies, the fish in farms come to the surface of the water to inhale oxygen. Fish seedlings are normally released into the fish ponds during July/August and the farmers harvest the crop in April/May season. On an average, 10 to 12 lakh tonnes of fish is being produced from both the districts per annum. About 60 per cent of these get exported to Howrah and north-eastern states while the rest gets sold in the domestic markets.

Varieties like Rahu and Katla are being raised. On an average, a kg of fish will fetch `100-`120 to these farmers. As the fish are coming to the surface of the water, the farmers are catching them and selling them at throwaway prices. In the case of dead fish, the price will be very low. Though dead fish from ponds are not supposed to be sold for consumption, some people buy them as they are sold at cheap rates.

Fisheries joint director Sheik Lal Mohammad said, “Fish farmers face such a situation whenever there is depression in the sea, which results in a dip in temperature and rainfall. Some farmers use aerators and change water in their fish ponds to help raise the oxygen. If the fish are more in the ponds, it will cause a serious problem.” Fisheries joint director from West Godavari, RBNSV Prasad said, “We are bringing about awareness among the fish farmers to deal with such situations so that they will not suffer much loss.”

However, the impact of such bad weather may not be affecting shrimp culture in a big way as the farmers take all requisite steps as these fetch more money.