To promote sustainable fishing and enhance the livelihood of fishermen, the union government has decided to replicate Tamil Nadu’s successful model of setting up artificial reefs in 3,477 villages across India’s coastline. Artificial reefs deployed in 131 places along the state’s coast, with the assistance of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), have led to four-to-seven fold jump in fish production, sources said. The primary beneficiaries of the initiative are small and traditional fishermen.
CMFRI scientist Joe K Kizhakudan, who deployed the reefs, told this newspaper that the union government’s department of fisheries has chosen the Tamil Nadu model after multiple rounds of talks and performance analysis. “Based on fishermen’s testimonies and under-water monitoring of artificial reef sites, about `25 lakh worth of fish have been found in each of these sites and in some places, record catches worth more than a crore per annum have been recorded. Traditional fishers are saving a lot of input costs in fuel and there is reduced wind sailing, scouting time, and improved live bait collections. Also, 10-fold increase in fish biomass and 25-fold jump in pelagic and midwater fishes have been recorded,” Kizhakudan said.
Considering the success of the project, the union government has planned to implement “Promotion of sustainable fisheries and livelihoods through Artificial Reefs and/or Sea Ranching” as a sub-activity under the Integrated Modern Coastal Fishing Villages of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme component of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. An official memorandum has been issued by the union ministry of fisheries. F Mahendrakumar Dhirajlal, assistant commissioner (fisheries), said, “At least one reef set in each of the 3,477 coastal villages in India is proposed to be installed over a period of three years starting 2022-23.”
Jump in Fish Production
Artificial reefs deployed in 131 places along the state’s coast, with the assistance of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, have led to four-to-seven fold jump in fish production, sources said. The primary beneficiaries of the initiative are small and traditional fishermen.