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Inland Fisheries

 Geographically, inland fisheries have great scope in the State. An inimitable feature of the State is the occurrence of 49 interconnected backwaters has an area of 46129 ha. The total brackish water resources of the State is estimated as 1, 43,696 ha.

In the inland sector, the State is endowed with a total area of about 2,26,274 ha of fresh water resources consisting of rivers, fresh water lakes, reservoirs, minor irrigation tanks, ponds etc. Of these about 1,30,000 ha area is ideally suited for freshwater fish culture.

Inland fish production provides significant contribution to animal protein supplies in rural areas of the State. Most of the inland production is consumed locally and marketed domestically. Major Inland fisheries resources are Brackish Water Fish,  Cold Water Fish and Ornamental Fishery Sector .

Inland Fishery Villages of Kerala

Inland Human Resources of Kerala
The total population of fisher folk, who were making their livelihood from the inland waters of the State, comes around 2.54 lakh, which accounts 0.67% of the State’s total population.

Fresh Water Resources of Kerala
The State is endowed with 44 rivers, innumerable irrigation tanks, reservoirs, streams & waterfalls, private & public ponds, quarry ponds and water-logged paddy fields. Besides these, 9 fresh water lakes are there, from which the drinking water supply of the State are met with.

Brackish water Resources of Kerala

The state has large number of interconnected backwaters originating from Thiruvananthapuram and extending up to Malappuram district.  

Freshwater Fish Resources of Kerala:
The rivers, rivulets, streams, etc., originated from the Western Ghats are well known for their richness of biodiversity including fresh water fish species. Altogether 210 primary fishes (excluding the marine migrants) are found in the inland waters, of which 53 species are endemic. Majority of these fish species had ornamental value also.

Reservoir Fisheries in Kerala
The Kerala state has 53 reservoirs with a water spread area of more than 44,300 ha (Annexure-1). These reservoirs are meant primarily for the purpose of irrigation, drinking water and generation of hydel power. Fish culture is carried out in 10 reservoirs of the state.  The Indo-German Reservoir Fisheries Development Project (IGRFDP) has developed appropriate management models for the development of small reservoirs in Kerala.

Inland Fishery Regulations in Kerala
In the inland fisheries sector of the State of Kerala the following are the Acts in force now:
(1) The Indian Fisheries Act, 1897
(2) Travancore-Cochin Fisheries Act, 1950 (Act 34 of 1950)

Kerala has the following inland farming:

Mussel Farming
The green mussel (Perna viridis) and the brown mussel (Perna indicd) are suitable for farming in the backwaters of Kerala coast. In North Kerala green mussel is the potential species for farming. Green mussel is widely distributed along the intertidal coast of Kollam. Alappuzha, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod. The brown mussel (Perna indica) has a restricted distribution and is found along the south west coast from Varkala to Kanyakumari. The Green mussel is abundantly distributed in the intertidal beds of Koduvally, Mahi, Chombala,   Moodadi,   Thikkodi,   Elathoor,   Chaliyam,   South  beach,  Anchangadi,   Ethai, Njarakkal, Chellanam, Andakaranazhi, Azheekal, Parimanam, Kollam Port and Neendakara.

Oyster Farming
The Indian Backwater Oyster (Crassostrea madrasensis) locally known as ‘Kadal muringa’ is the species suitable for farming in the backwaters and estuarine regions of Kerala. This species is distributed abundantly in Ashtamudi and Vembanad lakes, Kochi backwaters, estuaries and creeks of Dharmadom, Valapattnam, Neeleswaram and Chandragiri.

Mud Crab Culture
It is well recognized that diversification of farming and farming practices has an important role in sustainable development of brackish water aquaculture.

Brackish water Fish Culture
Under the traditional method of brackish water fish culture no selective stocking of species is carried out. The commercially important species known to be suited for brackish water fish culture are the Milk fish (Chanos chanos), Mullet (Mugil sp.) and Pearl spot (Etroplus suratensis). These species can be cultivated as monoculture or as polyculture with crustaceans with good returns.

Milk Fish
Milk fish(Chanos chanos) is popularly known as Poomeen in Kerala. Milk fish is distributed in the backwaters and feed on benthic organisms, blue green algae, diatoms, copepods, foraminifera forms, ostracods, decaying filamentous algae etc. The fish is surface moving, usually found in shallow waters near the coast and is caught by dragnets, set nets, scoop nets and traps. Chanos chanos does not mature and breed in confined waters and culture ponds and commercial-scale hatchery production is yet to be achieved in India.


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