Change in Marine ecosystem, rise in pufferfish population leave fisherfolk in crisis

PT Muhammad Jaseem

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Parappanangadi: Changing marine ecosystem is affecting the livelihood of fisherfolk in the state. The plight of the fisherfolk at Vallikkunnu, Parappanangadi, Tanur and Ponnani in Malappuram reveals the gravity of the crisis they are in. The increasing population of pufferfish that shreds fishing nets has been causing huge losses to the community.

According to fisherfolk, compared to previous years, the pufferfish population has increased rapidly at an alarming rate.

The pufferfish with large external spines, powerful jaws, sharp teeth and self-inflating capacity have been destroying fishing net worth Rs 20 lakh. Using their spines and teeth they will damage the net. If they come as a large group, they not only damage the net but also eat up the catch in it.

More often fishermen alert each other if they spot puffer fish in some areas of the sea so that they can avoid the route. It is the best way to avoid losses as it is difficult to repair the nets damaged by the fish. Similarly, if pufferfish is entrapped in the fishing net then it is better to throw them off to the sea. Because contact with this kind of fish could cause wounds or allergies on the human body.

Meanwhile, pufferfish is mostly seen during the months of January and February. There are different types of pufferfish. Most of them contain a toxic substance that is deadly to some other fish and humans. Hence, this kind of fish is not consumed by people. But some people use this fish for treatments in Japan.

The decline in the population predators of pufferfish has aggravated the issue.

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