KOCHI: Adding one more fish to India’s marine biodiversity, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has identified a new carangid (Vatta) species from the Indian coast.
The newly described fish belongs to the ‘queen fish’ group and is named Scomberoides pelagicus. In local parlance, the fish is known as pola vatta.
CMFRI confirmed it as a new species after detailed taxonomic and genetic analysis. The new fish is distinct by the deep ovate body, concave dorsal head profile, and stout and less numerous gill rakers on the first-gill arch compared to the closely related species.
There are more than 60 species of carangids in Indian seas, out of which four belong to the ‘queen fish’. The newly described one is the fifth queenfish from Indian waters. All over the world, three queen fishes were extinct earlier. “In the wake of many resources being increasingly threatened by depletion owing to their increasing role in the human food chain, identification of more new fishes assumes significance as it helps enrich marine biodiversity,” said Dr. E M Abdussamad, the principal scientist, who identified the fish.
The achievement would also help in the betterment of Indian marine biodiversity status, he added. “In order to conserve marine biodiversity, information on overlooked species, their correct identification, updated taxonomic classification, and grouping is the basic requirement”, he said adding that identification of Scomberoides pelagicus would greatly help policymakers, marine scientists, and other stakeholders to work on management and conservation plans.
The new fish is available across coasts in the country including Kerala and is highly relished and has good demand in domestic markets, a release by CMFRI said.