Comparison of Catch Rates and Species Composition from Artificial and Natural Reefs in Kerala, India
The depletion of fish stocks and the widespread habitat destruction caused by inshore trawling along the coast of Kerala provoked artisanal fishworkers to construct (using “materials of opportunity”) a number of small artificial reefs (AR's). The success of these AR's prompted research into low cost concrete and bamboo modular structures. This paper describes the catches of artisanal fishermen from three low cost, modular AR's and compares them with catches from nearby natural reefs (NR's). The cumulative total earnings made from each of the three AR's during the study period suggest that modular AR's are an economical viable option for artisanal communities wishing to create habitat for fisheries purposes. Comparable mean CPUE values with associated large variances were obtained from AR's and NR's in all three villages. The catch from the NR's in all three villages was dominated by Balistidae. Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae, Sepidae, and Synodonatidae were abundant in the catches from the AR's in two of the three villages, while in the third the catch was composed largely of Carangidae. The majority of fish caught from the NR's in all three villages were resident varieties, with lesser numbers of temporary and non resident fish respectively. Although no clear pattern of reef association was observed for fish caught from the AR's it is argued that three newly created habitats attract fish which could support an artisanal fishery sector. Developments in community management of AR's necessary to ensure that such a fishery is sustainable are briefly discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 September 1994
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