Kochi: Scientists of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) have expressed alarm over the presence of alien species in Kole wetland system located mainly in Thrissur and Malappuram districts. The second edition of the Kole Fish Count has found the presence of six non-native species in the areas under the survey. “The presence of six species of non-native fish in the Kole is of significant concern as these have the potential to compete with and outnumber native species. Particularly alarming is the frequent catches of the Amazonian Sucker catfish from various parts of the Kole”, said Dr. Rajeev Raghavan, Assistant Professor at KUFOS, and South Asia Coordinator of the IUCN’s Freshwater Fish Specialist Group.
The count covering the two districts for the first time recorded 82 species of aquatic organisms including 71 fishes (18 species of brackish water and 53 species of freshwater origin), 5 species of shrimp, 4 species of crab and 2 species of molluscs. The number was 34 species more than those recorded in the first survey covering only the Thrissur district.
According to Dr. M.K. Sajeevan, head department of fisheries, “the Government needs to take immediate action to prevent illegal fishing practices carried out during the annual harvest of auctioned waterbodies part of the Kole wetlands. He also called for “a total ban on the use of pesticide in the Kole Paddy System”.
Dr. Anu Gopinath, Department of Aquatic Environment Managem-ent, KUFOS, said general water quality remained similar to 2018 survey. “Since the last year’s survey revealed high inputs of nutrients and toxic metals like cadmium, we will focus more on to these chemicals in the 2019 edition also and results will be revealed in due course” she said....