A fish farm in Kerala attracts visitors in large numbers

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Kochi, Aug 16 : A natural fish farm where one can go for fishing, pedal boating and participating in other adventure sports at Kochi in Kerala is attracting tourists in large numbers.

The Matsyafed Fish Farm with all its attractive offerings situated in Vypin Island near Kochi is a favourite spot for tourists.

Elders and children can be spotted enjoying their weekends with their family members trying their hands on fishing rods waiting for the bait, rowing country boats, relaxing on the swings and having sea food prepared by coastal women.

"We set up our fishing activity in 1985 here. Of course for around two to three years, we incurred losses. When excess tidal saline water enters our lake, it is not favourable. We sensed the prospects of this place being a good place for tourism. We approached the officials and then the ball was set rolling. During off-season, we breed fish here. Poomai and Chemeen (prawns) are the prime varieties of fish," said Jayandran Kumar, a farm worker.

The rush comes during weekends with ticket sales being at its peak on Sundays.

Every month, the farm gets more than 1000 tourists and the profit in a month amounts to around Rs. 100,000.

"It has been a very good ambience set here with all this nature spreading across, backwaters. The rafting facility was quite a different thing offered here," said Neelkanth, a visitor.

Kerala plays a crucial role in India's marine sector. Of the 10 lakh, active fishermen spread over nine coastal states in India, 25,0000 are in Kerala. About 600,000 people earn their living from allied activities like fish vending and processing.

The state contributes 20 per cent of the country's fish production, and 24 per cent of the state's export comes from this sector.

On an average, the country earns foreign exchange to the tune of Rs.12,000 million from Kerala's marine exports. By Juhan Samuel

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