**    Due to searing heat, the fish are dying due to asphyxiation in hundreds of ponds in West Godavari dist
**    Farmers spent around Rs 3 lakh per acre and Sriparru farmers alone suffer losses to the tune of Rs 2 crore 
**    Scientists claim that oxygen levels in the fishponds have dropped due to severe heat  

Eluru: The severe summer heat landed a massive blow to aqua culture in West Godavari district. On one hand, water scarcity and on the other the scorching sun and rising temperatures hit the aqua cultivation. Due to intense heat, the fish in the ponds are dying due to asphyxiation. With this situation, the farmers are incurring huge losses in aqua cultivation.

In Kolleru area in the district, farmers are breeding the fish in the ponds in lakhs of acres. In Eluru mandal so many fish ponds are now facing water scarcity. Even then, the farmers are cultivating the fish in the ponds with limited water sources. In Sriparru, about 400 acres of land was converted into fishponds. 

The farmers have spent Rs 3 lakh for each acre of fishpond and expected higher yielding.  However, the severe summer has created havoc among the farmers. During last one week, the fish in 40 acres died due to asphyxiation. The scientists say that the oxygen levels in the fishponds have decreased due to severe heat. In addition, the salt density in the water has risen to above 10 per cent.  With this, the fish did not get the oxygen properly and died due to asphyxiation in this village. The other villages are also facing similar problem. The Sriparru farmers claimed that so far due to the death of fish in the ponds, about Rs 2 crore lost.

Fish farmer Saidu Krishnamurthy of Kolleru area said that due to drastic change in weather led to the death of fish in the ponds. He himself spent about Rs 25 lakhs for his eight acres fishponds near Sriparru village.

Another farmer Ghanta Satyam of Sriparru village said, “We are eking out our living on the fishponds. 

However, I never saw such a situation in this area in the last five decades. The farmers will catch about 4 to 6 tonnes of fish during the season. However, the scorching sun and rising temperatures leads to the death of fish in the ponds”.

It was estimated that  in Eluru mandal alone about 8,000 acres are under aqua cultivation.

The heat in the summer causes release of ammonia gasses and nitrogen oxide from the bottom of the fish ponds said Bellamkonda Subbarao, a aqua farmer of Denduluru mandal. He said “There is big threat to lives of fish. Due to summer heat, the ammonia and nitrogen oxide will get released and lowering oxygen levels in the ponds.” He added that farmers are fearing big losses in the aqua cultivation in Eluru mandal. 

Ramachandra Sharma Gundimeda