The fifth edition of the annual Vembanad Fish Count held here on May 23 and 24 revealed 60 species of fishes including seven new ones.

One of the finds include Horadandia Attukorali (Glow-light carplet), one of the smallest fishes in the country. Other finds include Ophisternon Bengalese (Bengal eel), Aplocheilus dayi (Ceylon killi fish), Puntus Madhusudhani ( a new species found recently in Manimala river) and Eleotris fusca (dusky sleeper). The count organised by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in association with a host of organizations puts the increase in fish wealth to strong summer rains and resultant strong flow of water. The situation could have been much better had the Thaneermukkom barrage was opened in March itself, they noted.

The count started by several groups of volunteers in Kumarakom, Aryad and Alappuzha after it was flagged off by environmentalist, K.V. Dayal on May 24. The volunteers first collected the fishes and later collected information in a scientific way to analyse them. The count was marked by its democratic and participatory nature. The count, funded by the Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), had the participation of Kerala Bio-diversity Board, Vembanad Nature Club and Lake Protection Forum, besides ATREE.

The count also had the participation of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), St. Alberts College, Ernakulam, MG University, MES College, environment workers and local people.

The valedictory function was inaugurated by K.P. Thampy, Additional District Magistrate (ADM). ATREE community resource centre convener, Priyadarshanan Dharmarajan presided over. F.G. Benno Pereira, head of department of Auqaculture, St. Alberts College released the concise report of the last four year’s count. Dr. Siddharth Krishnan, Kiran M.C and Jojo of ATREE and K.M. Poovu of Lake Protection forum also spoke.

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