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Mussel is harvested in large quantities at the Tangasseri breakwater in Kollam
KOLLAM: The Tangasseri breakwater in Kollam has come as a bonanza to the fishing community. The rocks have become a rich natural habitat of edible mussel. Large quantities of mussel are harvested every day at the breakwater.
Sylvester, 60, a mechanised fishing boat employee, says it has provided him a means of livelihood during the trawling ban period. He earns over Rs. 200 a day for two hours of effort. A group of youngsters from Shakthikulangara said they sell the harvest to traders in Kozhikode and Kannur. They earn Rs. 800 a day.
Only matured mussel is harvested. After harvesting, the mussel reappear in three months and are ready for harvest by five to six months, says Mr. Sylvester.
The Tangasseri breakwater complex is now the biggest source of mussel seed, says marine scientist K.K. Appukuttan.
The bulk of the seeds at the mussel culture farms in the northern parts of the State is sourced from Tangasseri. Over 10,000 tonnes of mussel are harvested every year at mussel culture farms in Kozhikode and Kannur, Dr. Appukuttan said. A small portion is exported to Gulf countries. Europe is a major market for mussel, but India has not been able to tap the market due to the strict quality control measures.
Apart from mussel, the breakwater is also a habitat of fish species suitable for angling. Fishes netted at the 2,100- metre breakwater include cods, snappers, groupers and eels.
Dr. Appukuttan said the breakwater is slowly being transformed into a reef that provides habitat to a vast variety of fish species. Even green turtles are seen in the harbour area of the breakwater.
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