The Hindu, Monday, Oct 30, 2006

Ornamental fish park to come up near Kochi

Special Correspondent


KOCHI: The country's first export-oriented ornamental fish park is slated to come up near Kochi shortly.

Close to 4 hectares of land beside the Cochin International Airport has been identified for the project by the Kerala State Fisheries Department. A study conducted by the department has found that water quality on the site is ideal for setting up the park.

The concept, known as aqua technology park, will have several fish breeding units within the precincts of a larger production and marketing complex. In addition to this central unit, the proposed model park will also encompass a number of smaller units, each having an area of 0.5 hectares.

While the main units will have common facilities such as water and electricity supply, laboratory and quarantine facilities, the satellite farms will be the major production centres, where much of the ornamental fish will be reared.

While providing aquaculture entrepreneurs with ready-to-use site to establish rearing, nurturing and procurement facilities, the park will serve as a platform to explore international markets, invite business delegates and market ornamental fish to the global market. The park itself is expected to function as a hub for export of ornamental fish, while the actual breeding and rearing of ornamental fish will take place in satellite farms and homesteads, says an official publication.

Joint venture

A joint venture involving the department, the Fisheries Resources Management Society (FIRMA), the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, the IDBI and the Small Industries Development Bank of India is planned, to carry forward the venture. The KSIDC will be the bid manager for the implementation of the entire project. Entrepreneurs will be welcome to invest in the park and the subsidiary satellite farms. One site in Thiruvananthapuram district and another in Kottayam district with ample supply of water have been identified to locate the satellite farms.

Ornamental fish business is among the fastest growing businesses in the world with a global annual turnover of $ 4.5 billion. There is fast growing demand for ornamental fishes from Europe, the Gulf countries and Southeast Asian countries, which India is ideally positioned to exploit, says the communication.