The hospitality industry in India’s southern state of Kerala had to shut up shop, like any other industry, when the federal government enforced a complete lockdown on midnight of 24 March to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
A luxury resort in Kumarakom in central Kerala on the banks of the Vembanad backwaters converted its swimming pool into a fish farm to mop up some revenue to maintain the facility. The high-end Aveda Resort has one of the biggest pools in that part of the state, almost a third of its vast campus.
The hotel management, which did some brainstorming to engage the staff and maintain the property, opted to go for fish farming in the pool. It went for aquaculture and harvested Pearl Spot Fish, or Karimeen as is called locally. Pearl fish are the most expensive variety, peculiar to the backwaters of Kerala.
“Maintaining the pool for six to seven months was a costly affair, with no guests or revenue. So we thought of this alternative and came out with this option as a temporary measure”, Jyotish Surendran, general manager of the resort, told Sputnik.
Jyotish said that pearl fish take seven to nine months to grow into 200-250 grams each. He said they have harvested about 16,000 seedlings and hope to get at least US $28,000 from the sale of the fish they're growing in the pool.
The hotel's management said that the move is temporary until guests start coming in, but that they plan to set up a new fish farm in an adjoining property to use the experience gained during the lockdown as a permanent source of revenue.