Ornamental fish to dazzle at Mathsya Mela

Organised by the Department of Fisheries along with the National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad, the four-day exhibition will be inaugurated by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Around 123 stalls will display various fisheries-related products, ornamental fish, latest production technology, research and development and developmental institutions.

For seafood lovers, a food court will have on sale five to six varieties of sea and freshwater fish. On February 19 afternoon, two chefs will give a live demonstration on fish cooking. The fish food recipe contest, an open event, will be held on February 20.

Entries will be classified into three categories — soup, curry and snacks. An ornamental fish competition too has been arranged for the public.

A consultancy room to solve the problems of fishermen would be also created. “We expect at least three lakh footfalls at the fair, with 75,000 to a lakh on Day One,” said Dr N R Ramakrishna, joint director (Inland). The Department of Fisheries will develop an aqua park dedicated to promote ornamental fish breeding at Hesaraghatta. The six-acre land, which is being developed at a cost of about Rs 2.5 crore, will provide entrepreneurs common facilities such as electricity, water, security, fencing, etc.

New avenue

“We have invited entrepreneurs to breed ornamental fish by providing half-acre land to each person,” said N R Ramakrishna. The park will be operational by 2012. The breeding of ornamental fish is considered a new avenue for farmers and women’s group to earn additional income. Currently, the ornamental fish breeding market in the world is estimated to be $6-14 billion; India’s share is less than 0.5 per cent. To increase this potential, the State government had decided to establish the aqua park, he said.

The Department was encouraging women’s self-help groups, especially in Mandya, to take up ornamental fish breeding as a hobby and was providing Rs 20,000 seed fund, fisheries department director Veerappa Gowda said. Ramakrishna said the Department of Fisheries had written to the Government of India to stop production of seeds to breed the banned African catfish in the State.

Although, the seeds are brought to Karnataka from other states, the officials have identified concentrated breeding in Bangalore Urban district.According to officials, around 500 ponds breeding the banned fish are operating in Bagalur, Razakpalya and neighbouring areas. “We don’t have enough statutory authorities to prosecute the breeders,” he said.

Illegal catfish breeding was blamed for the dog menace in Bagalur where a child was recently mauled and killed by dogs. The fish were bred and exported abroad where it fetched good price. As a result, the district administration has passed order to close down all such ponds in the area and confiscate the fish. He said catfish was banned because of its predatory nature, endangering native and indigenous species.

Fisherman nets rare lionfish

A rare lionfish was netted by a fisherman near the breakwater at Baitakhol near here, reports DHNS from Karwar. The lionfish (scientific name: Pterois) measures eight to 10 inches in length and has many colourful fins. The lionfish is an endangered sea water species.

It is usually found near coral reefs and hides among the reefs for protection. The lionfish is also found at the nearby Nethrani islands. The lionfish has a protective mechanism of opening up its fins near the heart and the back so as to scare away predators.

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