In Pulicat fishermen of Sathankuppam and Koraikuppam would be able to find their catch closer home in a span of about 6 months. To attract fish and help re-establish biodiversity in the sea artificial reefs have been deployed in the sea off these hamlets.  Villages in distress and with more number of fishermen who still follow the hook and line method of fishing were chosen for placing the reefs by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) said Durai Mahendran of Tiruvallur Maavatta Paarambariya Aikiya Meenavar Sangam.  International funding for agriculture Development has provided the funds for the reefs.  “We estimate a three to four-fold increase in fishing when compared to reef and non-reef areas.  During the lean period fishermen can use the hook and line technique near the reefs.  Under this scheme, eight villages have been covered from Kanniyakumari to Tiruvallur districts.  With funding from the State government, 17 sites have been covered along the coast,” said a source in the CMFRI.  In Kancheepuram district on sunday similar roofs were placed at Karikattukuppam and sulerikadu. To fetch large shoals of fish Desappan a fisherman said that the reefs were an advantage.  “Otherwise, we have to sit all day with the net watching it and the catch is meagre. We will ensure a proper system of fishing so that everyone gets a chance and we will also give enough time for the fish to breed. No trawling will be done,” he said. In an area roughly covering half a football ground 300 tonnes of material consisting of concrete modules in various shapes were placed on the seabed. Kovalam has become a scuba diving spot and it has an artificial reef.  So it is also beneficial for recreational purposes.“We choose locations that will allow the structures to remain longer. Usually, over a period of time they sink into the seabed because of the pile-up of oysters and mussels or due to action of currents, they may cave in. But the biomass should grow and multiply by then. The factors we consider includes proximity to bar mouth, wave action, sedimentation and availability of biodiversity,” said another source.


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