CMFRI survey shows rich diversity of marine species along Kerala coast

Study held at 26 major fisheries harbours as part of International Day for Biological Diversity records an impressive 468 species

Updated - May 23, 2024 04:04 am IST

Published - May 22, 2024 07:42 pm IST - KOCHI

CMFRI scientists surveying fish landing on Tuesday

CMFRI scientists surveying fish landing on Tuesday | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) survey on International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday at 26 major fisheries harbours along the Kerala coast recorded an impressive 468 species, underscoring the rich diversity of the State’s marine ecosystem. The one-day rapid survey was conducted simultaneously with the support of 55 experts.

The experts were drawn from the marine biodiversity and environment management division of the CMFRI. The survey covered the coast between Kasaragod in the north and Vizhinjam in the south.

The first-of-its-kind survey in its scale and scope covered all major landing centres and harbours in a single day simultaneously and focused on the peak landing hours from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. The survey provided an overview of marine resources brought ashore by various fishing gears, including trawlers, gillnetters and ring seiners, said a press release here.

Popular species like mackerel, sardine, anchovies, lizard fishes, and penaeid shrimps, alongside squids and cuttlefishes, were found among the most abundant species. The Carangidae family, known for its diverse and commercially important fish like jacks and trevallies, emerged as the most diverse group, accounting for 8% of the total catch.

The survey also showed deep-sea dwellers like oilshark, bramble shark, lantern fishes, and snake mackerels, adding a layer of mystery to Kerala’s underwater world. Seven species previously unrecorded along the coast were identified during the survey, emphasising the need for continuous monitoring and research.

CMFRI Director A. Gopalakrishnan said: “Understanding the biodiversity of our marine ecosystems is essential for developing effective conservation strategies. The data gathered will be invaluable in formulating effective strategies to protect and conserve our marine resources for future generations.”

This rapid assessment survey is a landmark achievement in marine biodiversity research in Kerala. It provides crucial baseline data for understanding the distribution and abundance of marine species, aiding in sustainable fisheries management and conservation efforts, he added.

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