Thiruvananthapuram, June 22: Kerala is preparing to build artificial reefs for fish spawning and help fishermen increase their catch, an official said Saturday.
Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) member secretary K.P. Laladhas told IANS that the board has decided to make efforts in this regard on the request of fishermen in the state.
"We have decided to get the discarded metal shells of motor vehicles and place them on the seabed. We have already got in touch with leading vehicle dealers for this," Laladhas said.
"These reefs can be built on the seabed at a depth of 10-20 metres, about two-three km from the shore," the KSBB member secretary added.
Fishermen were interested in the project as reef fish spawning is a popular method to increase catch across the world.
"Some non-government organisations have been helping us in dumping big boulders into the sea and placing green coconut leaves near them. This technique works for us," said a fisherman who welcomed the project.
KSBB chairman Oommen V. Oommen said that initially the project would be launched on a pilot basis. "First we will do an environment impact assessment study on the pilot project," said Oommen.
Last year, the state fisheries department had placed many reinforced cement concrete blocks off the Vizhinjam coast, some 15 km from here. However, the cost factor has forced the authorities to look for other alternatives as well.
There are 2.28 lakh active fishermen in the state.