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International aqua show begins

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, NOV. 17. The international aqua show that opened here today focussed on the need to develop the ornamental fish sector.

Speakers at the meeting, organised here to inaugurate the show, pointed out that the country was having only one per cent of the Rs. 5,000 crore international business in the sector. Apart from job opportunities, there is high potential for foreign exchange earnings. The meeting acknowledged that Kerala, with more than 60 varieties of ornamental fish, is an ideal ground for the growth of the sector.

Permanent aquarium

Inaugurating the exhibition, the Kerala Assembly Speaker, Therambil Ramakrishnan, suggested setting up of a permanent aquarium in Kochi. The vast commercial potential apart, ornamental fish tanks can be maintained as a domestic leisure activity, he said.

He recalled the opinion of a few experts that keeping ornamental fish at home can help reduce stress in life.

The Fisheries Minister, Dominic Presentation, said that ornamental fish farming centres would be started in Kochi and Kollam next year. Fifty women would be given training in the farming process. The ultimate aim was to help in setting up self-employment projects. Establishment of aquariums at schools could help improve the future of the sector, he said.

Allocated

The Minister said the Union Government had allocated Rs.15 crores to the Fisheries department. The amount will be utilised for housing and other welfare activities of the fisher folk. He said the State Government would hold talks with all concerned in the wake of the increase in diesel prices that has indirectly affected the fisheries sector.

He also said that foreign consignments of fish brought from Sri Lanka and Male for the aqua show were held up at the Customs Department in Thiruvananthapuram. Efforts were on to release the same, he said.

The former Fisheries Minister, K. V. Thomas, who was instrumental in launching the initial international aqua show last year, said the season was significant due to tourist arrivals.

K. Babu, Ibrahim Kunju, both MLAs, K. B. Muhammadkutty, Ernakulam district panchayat president, Jeevarathnam, Tamil Nadu Fisheries Director and Nandakumar, Matsyafed chief, were present.

The Fisheries Secretary, Elias George, welcomed the gathering. The Fisheries Director, G. Harikumar, proposed a vote of thanks.

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