Category Archives: fishing

Mangalore: ‘Catfish is extinct in coastal Karnataka’


MANGALORE May 23: Excessive fishing in the coastal region has resulted in the extinction of fish species such as catfish, according to director of the Kochi-based Centre for Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) N.G.K. Pillai.

Mr. Pillai, who was here to participate in a seminar, told The Hindu that a few species, including catfish, had already disappeared from the seas, and many species of fish were on the threshold of “sustainable-level”. He said that about 15 years ago, Karnatakas coastal belt was known for catfish. “Although it is now found in the coasts of other States, including Kerala, it is not available in this region. There were two species of catfish in this region and both of them have disappeared,” he said.

Stating that excessive fishing had affected marine biodiversity, Mr. Pillai called for urgent measures to prevent further damage to the fish species.
Export declines

Mr. Pillai said export of marine products, in terms of quantity, was declining. Indian exporters were, on the one hand, not able to meet the norms laid down by importers in countries such as the U.S. in some cases and, on the other, they had to cope with competitors in Vietnam, China and Thailand, among others. These countries had taken up aquaculture in a big way, he added.

Besides, the Indian fishing industry should re-invent itself by diversifying and adding value to the products. It could produce and market the ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat kind of products. “Everyone is looking for such products, nowadays,” he said. Indian aqua culturists, whose exports stood at about 1.3 lakh tonnes a year, were facing the problem of disease and they were not able control it. Production cost of aquaculture products was higher in India than in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, he said.
New species

These countries cultivated a new species, “Vanemi”, which was easier to grow and resistant to diseases. There has been a demand to import this variety to try it out in India. That was yet to happen. Import of the species may lead to higher yield. Indian aquaculture industry was grew another species, “Tiger prawn” and “Vanemi” was an exotic species, Mr. Pillai said.

He said that he had instructed the scientists at Mangalore Research Centre of CMFRI to organise monthly interactions with fishermen and their leaders in villages so that they could identify new areas of research. On the complaints that research data of the centre were not easily accessible for public, Mr. Pillai said steps were being taken to address this issue.

Mr. Pillai inaugurated the seminar on “Biodiversity”, organised by the Mangalore Research Centre.

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Warning that bluefin tuna ‘face extinction’


BLUEFIN tuna are being pushed to the brink of extinction in the Mediterranean by far too many fishing vessels pursuing the remaining fish stocks, a report warned yesterday.
A study for conservation charity WWF says there needs to be an urgent reduction of the fleet, which has almost twice the fishing capacity of current quotas set for the increasingly threatened fish.

The yearly catch potential of hi-tech vessels is three and a half times the recommended level, the report says.

According to the conservationists, the “unsustainable” situation is largely the result of massive overfishing of the Mediterranean by what is known as “purse seine” fishing, in which nets are set around the shoal and then closed like a drawstring purse.

This method is fuelled by the increase in tuna farms, which take the catch and fatten the fish in cages for six months.


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New fish quota to protect plaice and sole

For years European Union fishermen have seen a reduction in their fishing quotas. This is meant to keep the maritime species from dying out. Recently the situation has seen a slight improvement and the numbers of some species in European waters are stabilising. On Wednesday, the EU’s Executive Committee announced its recommended quotas for next year. The quotas will again be lowered and fewer fish will be caught than in previous years. The European fishing quotas are determined on the basis of advice given by various experts, including Dutch biologists, and the IMARES research institute which specialises in marine ecology research.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Two biologists are on their hands and knees on the deck of a ship sailing the Wadden Sea. They are searching for fish such as plaice, sole, whiting, crabs and shrimp – sometimes they even find a jellyfish. The boats fish at different spots during the day. According to Marcel de Vries of IMARES:

“Each year we fish at 130 fixed locations. We return every year and we compare what we find and what we caught in previous years.”

At every spot an enormous fishing net splashes into the sea, where it remains for 15 minutes. Sometimes the net is full of junk; other times it is teeming with fish.

Plaice and sole
Plaice and sole are the most important species in the Dutch fishing trade, which is why the study placed special emphasis on the two flatfish. Biologist Loes Bolle says the fishing expeditions are only a minor part of the extensive research which determines European Union advisory policies.

“We count fish in all Dutch waters, but the same happens in Germany, Belgium, England and Denmark. We also estimate how many fish are caught by fishermen. We combine the statistics in an attempt to determine how many fish can be caught without threatening the species’ survival.”

After the fish are counted on the Wadden Sea, each one is measured to determine the proportion of smaller and younger fish, or young and old.

Thankless task
In the course of the day the scientists spend many hours on their knees, counting and measuring hundreds of plaice and sole. But the work seems thankless, since the politicians will probably ignore their advice. Biologist Loes Bolle says they are more concerned about protecting the economic interests of the fishing industry, which means they’ll often allow an increase in the quotas.

“We give biologically responsible advice, in other words, we do our best to recommend how fish can be caught in a sustainable manner. We are attempting to help fishermen keep the population at a viable level so that the species can survive. The best course of action would be to ban fishing for the time being, but that is not realistic. We do our best to ensure that enough fish will survive so that the species do not become extinct. This will also guarantee that fishing does not become extinct.”

Biologists are recommending a reduction in the quota for plaice and sole in 2008. It’s now the politicians’ turn, beginning with the European Commission.

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WWF: Bigeye Tuna Overfished And In Danger Of Extinction


John Concepcion – AHN News Writer

Cambridge, United Kingdom (AHN) – Wildlife protection group WWF on Thursday said the bigeye tuna is on the brink of extinction because of excessive fishing.

The bigeye tuna, which is used to make sashimi and sushi, is one of the most common types of tuna popular in Japan, a country that consumes a quarter of the world’s supply of the fish.

A WWF statement read, “Bigeye tuna are under threat because authorities are failing to recognize the dire extent of overfishing.”

The group said in order to arrest the chilling trend, authorities in tuna-fishing countries should set a limit on the catch and set programs to restore the population of the bigeye tuna.

TRAFFIC, a monitoring group of the WWF and the IUCN-The World Conservation Union, said catching young or juvenile bigeye tuna reduces the availability of adults and compromises the stock because nothing will be breeding new young.

Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC’s Global Marine Program head, said “Instead they end up being worth a few cents in a can, and tuna stocks are on the verge of collapse. The biological and economic future of the bigeye tuna fishery is at serious risk.”


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One in three fish species threat of extinction

Fish and Fly

A shocking picture of over one in three freshwater fish species struggling for survival has emerged.

In a first ever assessment of European fish research shows how 100 years of industrial development has wreaked havoc on river systems.

The study done by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and published in the Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes reveals that 200 of the 522 species are threatened with extinction – 12 are already extinct.

William Darwall, from IUCN, said: “Many of these species, not considered as ‘charismatic’ or with any apparent ‘value’ to people, rarely attract the funds needed for their conservation.

“They risk disappearing with only a dedicated few noticing the loss.”

He went on to say that many of the species could be saved just by simple water purification and flood control.

Examples of fish most in danger include the European eel (Anguilla anguilla), Gizani (Ladigesocypis ghigii) and Jarabugo (Anaecypis hispanica).

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USA. Scientists call for Lower Snake Dam removal to help endangered Orcas

BYM Marine Environment News

Leading Northwest scientists and orca advocates are urging NOAA Fisheries to consider removal of the four lower Snake River dams in order to protect endangered Puget Sound orca populations that need Columbia-Snake River salmon as a critical food source.

“Restoring Columbia River Chinook salmon is the single most important thing we can do to ensure the future survival of the Southern Resident Community of killer whales,” said Dr. Rich Osborne, research associate with The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, WA. “We cannot hope to restore the killer whale population without also restoring the salmon upon which these whales have depended for thousands of years. Their futures are intricately linked.”

The comments from the six prominent orca scientists, delivered in a letter to Northwest members of Congress and NOAA regional administrator Robert Lohn, came in response to the Oct. 31 release of a new draft Biological Opinion from NOAA Fisheries for Columbia-Snake River salmon management. Salmon advocates say the new plan, the result of a court-ordered rewrite of an earlier, illegal 2004 federal salmon plan, fails to do enough to recover imperiled salmon in the seven-state Columbia-Snake river basin, and ignores altogether the four dams on the lower Snake River that do the most harm to these fish.

“History will not be very forgiving of the resource managers who failed in their responsibilities to these icons of the Pacific Northwest, Chinook and orca,” said Ken Balcomb, senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research.

“The draft plan relies heavily on actions that science and time have proven will not restore these fish to the levels necessary for self-sustaining populations of salmon, or abundant enough to provide a healthy food resource for these killers whales,” said Dr. David Bain, a killer whale biologist at Friday Harbor Labs. “Not only are salmon from the Columbia River an important historic food source, recovered abundant salmon in this river are an indispensable requirement for the future recovery of Southern Residents.”

“The new Federal salmon plan for the Columbia and Snake rivers is no better than previous plans in providing access to the basin’s best remaining salmon habitat in the upper reaches of the Snake River,” said Howard Garrett, co-founder of the Orca Network. “The resulting declining salmon runs have a very real impact on the 88 endangered southern resident orcas that depend on these fish, as they have for centuries. As the salmon disappear, the orcas go hungry.”

“The best science tells us,” Garrett added, “that to revitalize Snake River salmon, we’ll need to bypass the dams that block fish passage, and that dam removal, combined with a variety of economic investments, will bring benefits to upriver communities in eastern Washington as well as to Puget Sound.”

The Columbia and Snake River Basin was once the world’s most productive salmon watershed, with tens of millions of fish returning annually. Today, returns hover near 1% of those historic levels. More than 200 large dams on the basin’s rivers are the major cause of this crisis, with 13 populations now listed under the Endangered Species Act, and four directly impacted by the lower Snake River dams. Yet, the Columbia-Snake Basin still holds more acres of pristine salmon habitat than any watershed in the lower 48 states.

It is this opportunity, notes Kathy Fletcher, executive director of People For Puget Sound, that we must take advantage of, if we hope to protect and restore these two iconic Northwest species whose fates are inexorably intertwined.

“Our leaders must look for solutions not only in Puget Sound, but also in the rivers that bring the salmon to the sea throughout the Northwest,” Fletcher said. “The great salmon rivers like the Columbia and Snake can once again produce the healthy runs of Chinook, on which our majestic orcas feed, but only if we recover salmon habitat. We must act quickly to restore clean water, abundant, sustainable salmon populations, and a safe home for orcas. The scientists tell us there is no time to waste.”

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Tay salmon stocks ‘facing extinction’

The Scotsman

SCOTLAND’S world-famous “queen” of salmon rivers is being fished to extinction, according to its ghillies, who are pleading with its fisheries board to implement new laws to save its depleted fish stocks.

Anglers from across the world have flocked to Perthshire for decades to fish for Atlantic salmon in Scotland’s longest and most renowned river, the Tay.

But the Tay Ghillies Association has revealed it has been “a dreadfully poor salmon fishing season”, with catches down by 50 per cent and expected to fall even further next season. The association accuses the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board of ignoring a number of warning signs.

A spokesman for the Tay Ghillies Association said: “The annual catch numbers on the River Tay this year with rod and line will not amount to any more than 6,000 fish. The Dee, which is a fraction of the size of the Tay, with a fraction of the anglers, are set to do 5,000.”

However, David Summers, of the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board, said: “The idea that the Tay has completely collapsed is grossly overblown.”

He said the policy of catch-and-release needed strengthening, adding: “For next season we are advocating that, in the spring, you must put back the first fish every day and you may keep the next one.

“We currently ask that anglers not fish with worms before the end of May and certainly not in September and October. However, we are reviewing this policy.”

In Scotland, 85,901 salmon were reported caught in 2006, with 47,471 – 55 per cent of the total catch – being released.

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