INDIA - A steady increase in the extent of fish pods in East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh over the years has prompted the officials to establish aquaculture zones and to put a ban on conversion of agriculture lands into fish ponds.
Skyrocketing input costs coupled with absence of remunerative price for paddy has been forcing more and more farmers to undertake aquaculture by converting their lush green paddy fields into fish ponds, reports TheHindu.
According to the official records, fish ponds spread in an extent of 4,939 hectares in 2007-08, which rose to 5,720 hectares by 2009-10.
At present, aquaculture is on in 12,296 hectares in different parts of the district and nevertheless to say that the agriculture farmers are turning into aqua farmers by converting their farm lands into fish ponds.
This means, there has been a steady drop in the extent of cultivable land and farm produce on one hand and increase in the groundwater salinity on the other in the areas where the aquaculture is rampant.
“There is an immediate need to curtail the conversion of fertile land for aquaculture and for this we have chalked out a detailed plan involving the officials of the Fisheries and the Revenue Departments and that of the pollution control board,” says District Collector H. Arun Kumar.
It has been a year since the State Satellite Applications Centre releasing maps identifying areas where the aquaculture is extensive.
Deputy Director of the Fisheries department S. Anjali admits that there are unauthorised fish tanks.
“Some farmers are unaware of the mandatory rule of obtaining permission from the government before converting the agriculture land into aqua ponds,” she points out.
TheFishSite News Desk