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Govt says catfish industry answer to mud volcano

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Photo: The government is considering catfish farming on land swallowed by the mud volcano. [Reuters file photo]

Indonesian environment minister Rachmat Witoelar says hundreds of hectares of land inundated by sludge from a mud volcano in East Java could be rehabilitated for raising catfish.Mr Witoelar says the government remains focused on trying to stop or slow the mud, which has been spewing out of the ground near the city of Surabaya since May last year.But he says if that is not possible, there is evidence to suggest that catfish can be raised in ponds made of the mud, and this could provide a livelihood for people who used to farm in the area.Damage done by the mudflow is estimated at more than $US3 billion.Many believe it was started by the company Lapindo Brantas as it drilled for gas without proper equipment; a charge the firm denies, although it has agreed to compensate victims.

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