Spear-fishing with surface supplied diving disturbs the ecological balance in Gulf of Mannar, southeast India
Gulf of Mannar in southeast coast of India is considered an important biodiversity hotspot providing a variety of fishery resources. Spear-fishing, involving surface-supplied diving has become a significant threat in the Tuticorin region of Gulf of Mannar and was documented in August 2018. It is understood from the fishermen that spear-fishing is used as an opportunistic fishing method when the visibility is good. Using an iron rod of about 1.5 m, they catch commercially important fin- and shell-fishes including groupers, cat fishes, parrot fishes, rays, squids, trigger fishes, lobsters, crabs, etc. The practitioners of this harmful method target the ecologically important fishes such as parrot fishes, and this targeted collection adversely impacts the ecosystem by disturbing the ecological balance. This study makes a strong case for banning this activity before it spreads to other regions.
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