ALAPPUZHA The annual fish count to evaluate fish varieties in Vembanad Lake has recorded 48 species.
The Vembanad fish count, 15th in a series of surveys, has been conducted in the southern (riverine), eastern and western parts of the lake under the aegis of the Community Environment Resource Centre (CERC), a field academic unit of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE).
A team consisting of members of ATREE, academics researchers and fishermen from across the country recorded 43 finfish species and five shellfish species in the survey conducted on May 27. Last year, the survey recorded 100 species.
In a statement here on Saturday, Maneeja Murali, senior programme officer, said unlike the previous fish counts, of the 48 species recorded this year, the majority was freshwater species. Chela fasciata, a purely freshwater species, was recorded for the first time from the lake by a team led by Bijukumar.
The survey identified the presence of Oreochromis nitoticus (Nile tilapia), a species in the Global Invasive Species Database, in the southern part of the lake. As the invasive species is likely to pose a threat to traditional fish varieties, the survey has called for more studies.
The fish count was conducted in association with the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Panangad, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Biology (University of Kerala), Department of Fisheries, Vemaband Lake Protection Committee, Thomson Hospitality Private Ltd and Sarojini Damodar Foundation.