THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Fisheries Department has started installation of around 120 triangle reinforced concrete structures off Thumba coast that will serve as base for artificial reef. The artificial reef programme was inaugurated by Fisheries Minister J. Mercykuttiamma on Friday. Each RCC modules weighed around one tonne and was up to 150 cm tall. They are 2 metres in length and 8 centimetre thick and were built by Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation.
“The artificial reef units were installed in 12 to 15 feet depth parallel to the sea bed. RCC pipes are also embedded within. The growth of flora and fauna are expected to attract fish to the area. Ornamental fishes and fishes like Barracuda, Mackeral, Sardine and Eel will flock into eco system,” officials said. The CMFRI and fisheries jointly started the artificial reef programme at Poovar coast in 1998. Until today around 540 artificial reefs were installed under sea near areas like Puthiyathura, Karumkulam, Maryanadu and Adimalathura The units are lowered with the help of GPS and local fishermen.
The artificial reefs, in principle, are expected to reduce the fuel cost for fishing, as marine life will grow surrounding the reefs. In Thiruvananthapuram artificial reefs has been matter of controversies as some of them were washed ashore from time to time. Also, there have been no studies on the bleaching of natural coral reefs. The Fisheries department is yet to come up with protection plan for natural reefs close to Vizhinjam and Kovalam areas.