CMFRI rapid survey records 468 species in Kerala’s marine ecosystem

Kochi:  As part of celebrations of the International Biodiversity Day on May 22, the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) conducted a one-day rapid marine biodiversity assessment survey to understand the marine life along Kerala’s coast, and recorded 468 species.

The survey was done by a team of 55 experts at the Marine Biodiversity and Environment Management Division (MBEMD) of the institute and documented the diversity of marine species across 26 major fishery harbours, spanning from Kasaragod in the north to Vizhinjam in the south.

The survey, a first of its kind in scale and scope, covering all the major landing centres and harbours in a single day simultaneously, focused on the peak landing hours from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, collecting a detailed overview of the marine life brought in by various fishing gears, including trawlers and ring seiners.

A total of an impressive 468 species were recorded in the survey, underscoring the rich diversity of Kerala’s marine ecosystem.

Popular species like mackerel, sardine, anchovies, lizard fishes, and penaeid shrimps, alongside squids and cuttlefishes, were also 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 eight per cent of the total catch.

The survey also unveiled intriguing deep-sea dwellers like the oil shark, bramble shark, lanternfish, and snake mackerels, adding a layer of mystery to Kerala’s underwater world.

Seven species previously unrecorded along this coast were identified during this survey, emphasising the need for continuous monitoring and research.

CMFRI Director Dr A. Gopalakrishnan said that understanding the biodiversity of 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,” he said.


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