Staff Reporter

Eighteen species of river fish in the State are critically endangered

Expert says water bodies in the State are not being utilised for aquaculture

Many commercially valuable fish in Indian waters are on the brim of depletion

KOLLAM: B. Madhusoodana Kurup, Director of the School of Industrial Fisheries (Cochin University), and advisor to the Fisheries Minister, has said captive breeding is the only way to restore those fish species which face over-exploitation and extinction.

He was delivering the keynote address at a State-level workshop on ‘Captive breeding of fish for conservation and income generation’ organised by the Zoology Department of Fatima Mata National College here on Thursday.

Productivity

Dr. Kurup said 18 fish species of the rivers of Kerala were critically endangered and if proper protection was not given to them and their habitat, they would face extinction. Therefore it was very important to develop captive breeding techniques, he said.

India’s productivity through aquaculture stood at two million tonnes while in China it was 45 million tonnes, Dr. Kurup said. In China 220 fish species were covered by aquaculture and 180 of them were fresh water fish. In India the concentration was mainly on shrimp and only three species of fresh water fish were covered by aquaculture.

He said the water bodies in the State were not being utilised for aquaculture. In fact, Kerala lagged behind in the field. Only ten per cent of the water bodies were being used for the purpose. The country was still in an embryonic stage while many of the East Asian countries were highly advanced in the field.

Marine sector

Dr. Kurup said the marine fisheries sector was almost stagnated in the country. Productivity in the country from the sector was stabilising in the vicinity of 6 lakh tonnes annually. All resources in the State stood fully exploited. The fact was that many commercially valuable fish in the Indian waters were on the brim of depletion.

Earlier, while inaugurating the workshop, Leonard Sonnenschein, president of World Aquarium USA, said that the future of the planet was not in the hands of universities and governments but in the hands of the community.

Delivering the presidential address, Kollam Bishop Stanley Roman said that much needed to be done in the fisheries sector. Judicious exploitation of the marine wealth would lead to economic growth, he said.

M.A. Haniffa, Director of the Centre for Aquaculture Research and Extension, Palayamkottai, and Deputy Director of Fisheries K.J. Prasanna Kumar spoke. College Principal Soosamma Kavumpurath welcomed the gathering and head of the Zoology Department Charles D’cruz proposed the vote of thanks.

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