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A Peek Into The Aquaculture Of Kolleru

A Peek Into The Aquaculture Of Kolleru
Kolleru Lake is a popular destination for several species of migratory birds, Photo Credit: Jahnavi Uppuleti
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Witness a wide range of migratory birds flood the Kolleru Lake as the blistering winter season takes over most of Northern India

Kolleru lake is the largest freshwater lake in the country. It is situated amongst lush green villages of West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. Kolleru has been a bed for several migratory birds and has been acting as the flood balancing reservoir between two river deltas, Krishna and Godavari.  Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is a practice of rearing aquatic creatures for commercial food purposes. Fish, prawns and algae are the most reared in India, especially in Kolleru.

There are birds chirping everywhere and local fishermen row their boats across the huge lake. But this lake turns from a bed of resources in the monsoon to a playground for children from nearby villages in the summer. This has been the state of this precious freshwater body for more than a decade.

Several migratory birds including painted storks, Asian-open billed storks, grey herons, ibises , teals , spot-billed pelicans and many more flock to Kolleru. The number of birds migrating to Kolleru have been decreasing every year with the decrease in water levels. While climate change is a reason for the change in the water levels, the increase in aquaculture around the lake has impacted the lake and also the locals living in nearby villages.

Most parts of Kolleru lake have been dug into lakes for aqua culture. The sight of the lake in summers is very disturbing with no sight of water anywhere except for few blots. But, the fisheries around the lake have water, showing no sign of scarcity. All the fisheries divert water from Kolleru, filling lakes for aquaculture and drying up the lake.  For breeding fish in a huge scale many chemicals are mixed in the water for aquaculture, which pollutes the land and also Kolleru’s water. Resulting a threat to migratory birds, land and people living around.

Sacks being dried beside fisheries, to be filled with fish food.

Every lake used for aquaculture has a care taker guarding the lake. They are usually given a small house right next to the lake to consistently keep a check on the fish and their food.

Priyanka is from a family that guards the fish in the lake, she speaks about how vividly she remembers her childhood beside Kolleru, with no scarcity of water. Now Priyanka’s father travels for about 6-7km to fetch the family drinking water.

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