Foreign fish breeds invade local waters; Native fishes at extinction risk
Kochi: Three years since a concerned report recommending that foreign fish breeds must be kept away from the dam waters of Kerala, the authorities are sitting still on what could lead to the extinction of local fish breeds.
Dr. P O Nameer from the Kerala Agriculture University Centre for Wildlife, Katty, had submitted a detailed recommendation to the Government asking the departments concerned to abstain from depositing foreign fingerlings in the dam waters of Kerala.
Over 15 different foreign breeds are currently found in large numbers in the dams and other inland water bodies. This includes invasive fishes like African Mushi that eats anything that it spots and several more like Goldfish, Nile Tilapia, Malaysian Sardine, Rainbow Trout, Mozambian Tilapia, Piranha and Pacu.
Not only do these foreign fishes reduce the native population but they also change the ecology of the water bodies. Fishes like Guppy and Gambusia eat eggs and this affects the natural regeneration of native fish stock. It has been found that in the Thekkady dam, where there is a large number of African Mushi, the local stock of fishes like 'Thekkady Pandan Koyma', 'Kariyan', 'Karimbachi', 'Brahmanakanda', 'Thekkady Kallotti' and 'Kaduva Koyma' has been rapidly reducing.
The forest department has been giving a nod to the fisheries department which justifies the foreign fishes claiming it provides food for the tribals. The report also says that if the authorities stop depositing the foreign fishes it will take only a short while for the native species to regenerate.