Speaking to DtNext , K Deepa, Deputy Director (Mines) said, “Our Collector SA Raman suggested that we take recourse to fish that eat the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which spread dengue. Hence we sought the help of the state fisheries department.”
The Mines Department, which controls quarries in the district, has, till date, released nearly 9,000 Gambusia fish in 20 quarries at Sathuvachari, Walajahpet and Ananthalai which are filled with rain water.
“This is purely a preventive measure, as the fish eat all mosquito larvae. We give preference to quarries located near residential areas, as aedes larvae from such quarries can easily infect residents of nearby habitations.” However, a problem which the Department failed to anticipate, was the death of Gambusia, within an hour of their being removed from their natural habitat.
“Even when we changed the water continually, the fish still continued to die and so we had perforce to limit our services to quarries which were within one hour travelling distance from Vellore.” However, awareness about the use of such fish to contain dengue has spread, resulting in locals living near the quarries making a request for some fish for their wells and water bodies. However there has been no monitoring as to the project’s efficacy.