Biodiversity Day: CMFRI survey reveals rich diversity of marine species along the Kerala coast

Biodiversity Day: CMFRI survey reveals rich diversity of marine species along Kerala coast

Kochi: In a significant move to celebrate 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 marine life along the Kerala coast. A total of an impressive 468 species were recorded in the survey, underscoring the rich diversity of Kerala’s marine ecosystem.

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

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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 am to 12 pm on Wednesday, collecting a detailed overview of the marine life brought in by various fishing gears, including trawlers, gillnetters, and ring seiners.

Popular varieties

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 8 per cent of the total catch.

The survey also unveiled intriguing deep-sea dwellers like the oilshark (Neohariota pinnata), bramble shark (Echinorhinus brucus), lantern fishes, and snake mackerels, adding a layer of mystery to Kerala’s underwater world.

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

Significance

Highlighting the importance of this study, Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI 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.

The survey team comprised scientists, technical staff, research scholars and students at the marine biodiversity division of CMFRI.

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