Popular Fish Species Fast Vanishing from the Coastal Waters of Kerala: Experts

According to experts, there is a possibility that the availability of your favourite dish will be scarce. If at all it is available, it would be expensive. White avoli already costs around Rs 600 - Rs 700 per kg in the market.

Published: 23rd June 2014 08:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2014 08:39 AM   |  A+A-

KOCHI: Those whose tastebuds go on a roller-coaster ride at the sight of white pomfret (avoli) on the dining table, should be prepared to face lean times.

According to experts, there is a possibility that the availability of your favourite dish will be scarce. If at all it is available, it would be expensive. White avoli already costs around Rs 600 - Rs 700 per kg in the market.

According to a study conducted by the team of fisheries scientists, the resources of two  popular species - lactarius lactarius (Parava) and white pomfret have depleted.  While  the resource of arius species (Kadal Etta) has collapsed.

“Still, we can preserve these species, if steps are taken immediately,’’ said the scientists.

‘Depleted’ means unavailability at an alarming rate while the term ‘collapse’ indicates scarcity. The expert committee which studied the impact of trawling ban along the Kerala coast  analysed catch data of 19 species and figures showed that 47 per cent of them are declining while  37 species  maintain a healthy  status (abundant or less abundant). Parava and white avoli have depleted and resources of nine other species are declining. ‘’Collapsing  of ‘Kadal Etta’ is the best example for our bad fisheries management. We caught them and did not even spare the eggs,’’ said principal scientist K Sunil Mohammed, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), a member of the committee. The report submitted by the committee recommended, ‘’Majority of the depleted or collapsed stocks are those species which are mainly caught in trawling.

As a first step towards building stocks , trawling has to be reduced and the legal cod-end mesh size in these trawls has to be implemented.’’ Two major recommendations of the committee  are to extend the trawling ban to 60 days and issual of license on the basis of gear and mesh size of the net.

’It is nearly 25 years since ‘Kadal Etta’ depleted and collapsed. The stock appears to be improving during recent years, and  there should be efforts to ensure that excessive fishing does not happen,’’ the committee recommended.

The committee with additional director of fisheries Saira Banu as chairperson included K Sunil Mohammed and T V Sathianandan, principal scientists of the Central Marine Fisheries Institute (CMFRI) P Pravin and M V Baiju of  the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Department of Fisheries law officer Chandrasekharan Nair and joint director fisheries K M Lethy and  State Fisheries Resource Management Society (FIRMA) executive director P Sahadevan. Deputy director of Fisheries (Marine) Laila Devi was the convener and Department of Fisheries technical assistant P S Sivaprasad was the co-convener.

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