The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given approval to construct training walls at the Pazhaverkadu estuary to stabilise the bar mouth, which often gets closed due to silting.

An official, who was a part of the NBWL meeting held in New Delhi on November 17, confirmed that consent was granted for the construction of two training walls, of 160 m and 150 m each, on either side of the bar mouth.

Fishermen of Pulicat, a vast brackish water lake with three estuaries, have been demanding the construction of these walls for a long time to keep the Pazhaverkadu estuary open during all seasons. At present, it is so silted up that hardly any water is exchanged.

The exchange of water is vital for maintaining the lake’s ecosystem. If seawater does not enter, salinity and pH levels will change and crabs and prawns unique to the lake cannot survive, said a retired official of the Fisheries Department.

Durai Mahendran of the Tiruvallur District Traditional United Fishermen Association said due to the lack of exchange of water, marine animals were not entering the lake to lay eggs, resulting in the depletion of catch.

“The livelihoods of thousands of fishermen depend on these waters. People are being forced to search for other jobs. Since they are not skilled in other occupations, they get only menial jobs and are paid less. If no steps are taken immediately, the lake will be lost,” he said. According to P. Aalaiyan of Tada Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh, though there was one more estuary at Raidurgh, there was not much fishing there since the bar mouth had been silted up. “We have requested Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to take up desilting [works],” he said. The lake spreads into Andhra Pradesh as well.

Tiruvallur Collector T. Prabhushankar said he was aware of the situation, and steps would be taken to build the training walls.

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