Virus-Hit Indian Resort Turns Pool Into Fish Farm

Otherwise known as a pearlspot cichlid, the green chromide is a species of fish that is native to fresh water habitats in southern India and Sri Lanka. (Image by Peter Corbett CC BY 2.0 via Courthouse News)

KOCHI, India (AFP) — A luxury resort in southern India has turned its swimming pool into a fish farm to stop the business sinking amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally the 500-foot pool at the Aveda Resort in Kerala state is packed with European tourists. Now thousands of pearl spot fish are causing the splash.

The complex was forced to shut in March when a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was ordered. Few hotels have been allowed to reopen since.

Of those which are still shuttered, not many boast a pool with 7.5 million liters of water, which can be put to alternative use.

“We have had zero revenues, so in June, we put around 16,000 two-month-old pearl spot fish in the pool,” Aveda’s general manager Jyotish Surendran told AFP.

The fish, which takes about eight months to reach full size, is a popular ingredient in dishes in southern India and the Middle East.

“We plan to harvest by November and will export to the Middle East,” Surendran said, predicting about four tons of pearl spots growing in the swimming pool could be worth $40,000 on the market.

The makeshift farm would not cover the losses from the pandemic, which has driven many hotels to bankruptcy, said the hotel boss.

But Surendran was hopeful that the money would help cover basic bills so the business can keep running until tourists return.  

And the Aveda plans to keep faith with the pearl spot even when business resumes.

“We can’t continue with this farm in the pool, but we are trying to find alternative land where we can build up this knowledge for bigger projects,” he said.

© Agence France-Presse

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