Shrimp farms along the coasts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts in Odisha will be severely hit by the severe cyclone ‘Yaas’. The tropical cyclone which has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm is expected to make a landfall between Dhamara port and Balasore on the Odisha coast Wednesday (May 26).
Tidal waves of height 2-4 meters above astronomical tide are likely to inundate low laying areas of Balasore and Bhadrak and about 2 meters above astronomical tide are likely to inundate low laying areas of Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and Medinipur and South 24 Pargana districts of West Bengal around the time of landfall.
More than 8000 hectares of shrimp farms along the coastal districts will be affected due to the very severe super cyclone.
Tapan Mohapatra who has about 22 acres of shrimp farm in Haldipala area under Balasore district is worried. He says, “I have well developed farms (of 22 acres) in Haldipala area. I have stocked about three million seeds this time. The size of the shrimp will be of average 20 gram weight. I apprehend the animals will die due to shortage of oxygen as the aerators have stopped functioning due to power outage.”
Expressing his concern over the possible loss of crops, Aditya Dash, MD, Ram’s Assorted Cold Storage, says, “Farmers were expecting a good harvest this time. However, due to cyclone and heavy rains, the stress will increase and cause panic harvest of shrimps. Both of our farms near Dhamara coast will suffer losses.”
A shrimp farmer, Manoj Mohanty, from Panchutikri village of Dhamara area has also stocked 30 acres of Vannamei having average body weight of 18 grams size ( 70 MT present Biomass in all ponds). He says, “The high tide may submerge all my ponds and cause huge financial loss.”
Chintamani Mahapatra, Regional Manager (Business Development), Growel Feeds who has spoken to several farmers in the costal districts is of the same view. He says, “Odisha had a very good stocking this time. The cyclone ‘Yaas’ will hit hard to the farmers in Damara and South Balasore coasts and adjoining areas of Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapada districts. More than 70% farmers will be affected either due to shortage of oxygen or flood like situation followed by the spread of disease.”
The State government has evacuated all people living in the low lying areas in the coastal districts.
“The Fisheries Department has given more focus on saving lives at this moment. We have shifted the fishers and their families to cyclone shelters and moved all motor boats to safer places. We have also urged the aquaculture farmers who are staying in thatched or makeshift houses near the farms to vacate. Out priority is to save more lives. We will assess the losses after the cyclone,” said Debananda Bhanja, Additional Director, Department of Fisheries, Government of Odisha