Indian Council of Agricultural Research


GIS based mapping of zoanthids along Saurashtra coast, Gujarat, India

Zooxanthellate zoanthids (or. Zoantharia) are the third largest order of Hexacorallia and are an integral part of the coral reef ecosystem. Worldwide coral reefs will continue to suffer under the synergistic effect of anthropogenic agent and climate change, thereby shifting towards more adaptive and resilient species. Zoanthids are looked upon as adaptive species under the current dynamics of climate change. Zoanthids are also studied for their biochemical properties like extraction of zoanthamine, Oxytoxic agent, Green Fluorensce Proteins (GFP). Hence understanding the ecology and spatial distribution patterns of zoanthids is important in formulating conservational and management policies pertaining to marine ecosystems. The present study encompasses the spatial distribution pattern of zoanthids along the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat, India. Nineteen stations have been selected from Okha to Bhavnagar and spatial distribution patterns of eight zoanthid species have been studied using modified belt transact method, GIS and IDW interpolation technique. The results indicated Palythoa mutuki as the most common and abundant species along the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat followed by Zoanthus sansibaricus and Palythoa tuberculosa. While species such as Zoanthus gigantus and Palythoa heliodiscus, been the rarest species along this coast. The study is first of its kind and attempt has been made to incorporate the modern tools which overcome the constraints of spatial variation in the distribution over traditional methods of biodiversity studies. The study also forms baseline study to monitor zoanthid progression in the future and developing georeferenced database along the Saurashtra coast of India for long term permanent transect monitoring and policy framework development.


Marine fish landings of India increase by 5.6% in 2017

 India’s marine fish landings increase by 5.6% in 2017

The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi released the Marine Fish Landings Data -2017 in India on 26th June 2017. According to the data, India’s marine fish production is showing a sign of revival with the annual marine fish landings in 2017 registering 5.6% increase compared to the previous year.


The total marine fish landings in India (excluding Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands) in 2017 was 3.83 million tonnes, with Gujarat remaining at the top position for the fifth consecutive year with contributing 7.86 lakh tonnes (20.5% of total landings) followed by Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This is the highest catch after a record-high landings in 2012. Marine fish landings improved in all the maritime states other than Tamil Nadu and a palpable dip in the UTs of Puducherry and Daman & Diu. Revival of oil sardine in the western coastal states especially in Kerala played a major role in improving the country’s marine fish production this time. However, the east coast witnessed a decline in the oil sardine catch with 83% drop in Andhra Pradesh and 36% in Tamil Nadu compared to 2016. A total of 788 marine fish species were landed this time along the Indian coast with maximum numbers landed along the Tamil Nadu coast followed by Kerala and Maharashtra.

Oil sardine tops

Indian oil sardine, which was showing a decreasing trend for the past few years, topped the list of marine fishery resources this time with a landing of 3.37 lakh tonnes (8.8% of total landings) registering an increase of 38% all over India. Indian mackerel, ribbon fishes, lesser sardines, penaeid prawns and non-penaeid prawns are the other major resources with respective landings of 2.88 lakh tonnes (7.5%), 2.39 lakh tonnes (6.2%), 2.27 lakh tonnes (5.9%), 2.1 lakh tonnes (5.5%) and 2.03 lakh tonnes (5.3%).


In what must come as a good news to Kerala, the landings of oil sardine recorded a massive increase of 176% in the state compared to the catch in 2016 which was the record-lowest within the last two decades. In all India level, catch of Indian mackerel also increased whereas the landings of Hilsa shad, threadfin breams and tuna dropped this year. Significant increase of mackerel was recorded in the West Bengal, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.


Resurgence of oil sardine fishery helped Kerala attain an increase of nearly 12% in the marine fish landings with a total catch of 5.85 lakh tonnes against 5.23 lakh tonnes in 2016. Oil sardine catch went up to 1.27 lakh tonnes from a mere 45,958 tonnes in 2016, a three-time hike. With this, Kerala secured third position behind Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in the total marine fish landings of the country. The state was in the fourth spot last time. The other major resources appeared in the topmost list were penaeid prawns (43,468 t), scads (43,463 t), cephalopods (43,213 t) and threadfin breams (41, 841 t).  Catch of ribbon fishes increased nearly 63% in Kerala with a landing of 20,729 tonnes which also helped the state to improve its total marine fish production this year.  


However, even as the landings of Indian mackerel increased by 39% in all India level, Kerala recorded 29% drop in mackerel catch this year. Apart from oil sardine and ribbonfish, catch of prawns, threadfin breams and squids also increased in the state compared to the previous year, whereas scads, seer fish, anchovies, soles and red snapper decreased along with Indian mackerel. Though Karnataka was placed in the fourth spot in national level, the region recorded a historical high landings this time with an increased catch of Bullseye. A substantial increase of marine fish landings was experienced in Goa (64%), West Bengal (33%) and Maharashtra (30%).


Ockhi Impact

The Cyclone Ockhi that hit during the end of 2017 had a devastating effect on the marine fisheries sectors of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala suffered an estimated drop of around 35,000 tonnes of fish due to Ockhi disaster in December 2017 with an estimated economic loss of Rs 585 crore at landing centre level and Rs 821 crore in retail level. Compared to the previous year, 57% fishing efforts were reduced owing to the cyclone which caused the loss in December last year.


8.3% increase in value of fish

The estimate of the value of marine fish landings based on price at landing centres across the country during 2017 was Rs 52,431 crores, with an increase of 8.4% compared to 2016. The unit price per kg of fish at landing centre was Rs.137 (5.6% increase over 2016).  At the retail level, the estimated value of marine fish was Rs. 78,408 crores (7% increase over 2016). The unit price at the retail market level was Rs.204 (4.2% increase over 2016).

According to Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI, the present marine fish catch is the second historical highest in India. “The upsurge in the marine fish production is a promising trend and it is observed that some new resources are emerging as the major fishery in many maritime states.  For example, the continuing trend of increased landings of bullseye (unnimary in local parlance) in Karnataka helped the state to record its highest landings ever. The landing data also shows that the recent fishing regulations such as Minimum Legal Size (MLS) and other regulatory measures suggested by the CMFRI have greatly helped Kerala and other maritime states to improve their fishery”, Dr Gopalakrishnan said.


The Fishery Resources Assessment Division of the CMFRI estimated the annual marine fish landings of the country. Dr T V Sathianandan, Head, Fishery Resources Assessment Division, presented the findings. Dr K Sunil Mohamed, Dr G Maheshwarudu, Dr P U Zacharia, Dr E M Abdussamad and Dr C Ramachandran also attended the function.


Oxygenated heterocyclic metabolites with dual cyclooxygenase-2 and 5-lipoxygenase inhibitory potentials

Previously undescribed oxygenated heterocyclic metabolites were purified from the ethyl acetate fraction of natural mangrove hybrid Rhizophora annamalayana. The purified metabolites were characterized as 11-(tetrahydro-14?-hydroxy- 13?-methylfuran-12-yl)-10?-methylbutyl benzoate (1), 13-(tetrahydro-15?,16?-dimethyl-18-oxo-2H-pyran-14-yl)-10?- methylhept-12(E)-enyl benzoate (2), and dihydro-11-((7E)-2-hydroxy-8?-methyl-2H-chromen-9-yl)-13-methylpent-12(E)- enyl)-17?-methylfuran-19(3H)-one (3) by the combined spectroscopic experiments. These metabolites were assessed for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and compared with the commercially available standards. The purified compound 3 exhibited greater antioxidant activities as deduced by 2, 2’-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid and 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl quenching properties (IC50 2.10 and 2.22 mM, respectively) compared to the positive control (?-tocopherol, IC50 1.46 and 1.69 mM, respectively). Consequently, the anti-inflammatory activity of compound 3 with regard to the inhibitory property towards pro-inflammatory 5-lipoxygenase was greater (IC50 2.16 mM) than that exhibited by the synthetic anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen (IC50 4.51 mM). Electronic and hydrophobic parameters were deduced to find the target bioactivities of the studied compounds. These oxygenated heterocyclic metabolites could be used as potential therapeutic lead compounds in the pharmaceutical applications.


Impact of Self-Help Groups in gender mainstreaming: A case study on clam processing units

A study for assessing the impact of SHGs in gender mainstreaming was undertaken on the clam processing units operating at Pookaitha located at Kottayam District of Kerala. The analysis included specific aspects such as performance assessment of the SHGs, gender analysis, empowerment analysis and economic feasibility analysis which were carried out based on socio-economic surveys and personal interviews using pre-tested and structured data gathering protocols with standardized scales and indices involving the members of the SHGs. The male and female counterparts of the families were separately interviewed to assess the gender mainstreaming aspects in terms of equity and equality to access to resources, participation profile, decision making aspects, gender need analysis etc. Though majority of activities are female dominated, the male counterparts of the households also have definite role in decision making, purchase of accessories, sales, marketing etc. The indicative economics worked out for the economic feasibility analysis of the SHGs suggests that, the unit takes two years to break even. A success case study was elucidated and documented as a documentary which can be used as a case model for promoting group action for mobilizing SHGs on a sustainable basis.


Evaluation of suitable sites for mud crab farming in Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra, India

The State of Maharashtra has vast stretches of estuaries, creeks and mangrove swamps, which offers great potential for aquaculture, particularly for mud crab farming. In view of the natural resources and market potential for mud crab, the Department of Forests, Government of Maharashtra plans to promote mud crab farming through a novel approach, which aims at providing livelihood support to the local communities utilizing the mangrove wetlands; thereby the local communities also shoulder the responsibility of conservation of mangroves. In this backdrop, a study was conducted to identify the suitable sites for sustainable mud crab culture, in GIS environment, based on various physical and environmental criteria including topography, soil types, landuse systems, vegetation, water quality, water availability, salinity, risks of flooding, infrastructure, seed resources and availability, market and support services. The brackishwater stretches of Anjarle, Kelshi, Aade, Velas and Ansure in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra were studied, and all study stations had patchy to thick mangrove vegetation. The major mangrove species encountered were: Avicennia marina, Avicennia officinalis, Sonneratia caseolaris, Rhizophora mucronata and Acanthus ilicifolius. The pH of water was near-neutral to alkaline, whereas dissolved oxygen levels were found to be within the ideal range. The salinity of the tidal creeks ranged from 7.24 ppt (Velas) to 35.9 ppt (Ansure) which generally varies with the tide. The ammonia levels which ranged from 0 (Aade and Ansure) to 0.5 ppm (Kelshi), falls within the safe levels for Available online at: doi: 10.6024/jmbai.2017.59.2.2014-05 aquaculture. The sediment pH ranged from 6.2 to 8.32. The organic carbon levels in sediment ranged from 0.27 to 2.94% indicating medium to high productive nature of sediment. Samples of mud crab collected from the study areas were processed for screening for WSSV infection. All samples gave Negative results in primary as well as nested PCRs, indicating the absence of WSSV in the wild mud crab population. Integrating the analysis result along with supporting spatial data with the aid of GIS and Remote Sensing techniques, a total of 10.063 ha have been evaluated as suitable areas for mud crab farming along the brackishwater stretches of Anjarle (1.91 ha), Aade (2.069 ha), Kelshi (1.77 ha), Velas (0.538 ha) and Ansure (3.776 ha).


Phylogenetic diversity of culturable bacteria in Chaetoceros gracilis mass culture system

Microalgae, a major live feed in aquaculture always coexist with associated bacteria. Hence a better understanding of algal-bacterial interaction is essential for maintaining a stable environment in intensive larval rearing tanks. Therefore, herein we attempted to determine the phylogenetic diversity of culturable bacteria associated with microalgal production system of a marine finfish hatchery with special reference to Chaetoceros gracilis mass culture. The sequencing of 16S rDNA of representative from each phylotypes revealed that the associated microflora belong to the classes Gammaproteo bacteria, Alphaproteo bacteria, and Bacilli. In particular, members of Marinobacter genus showed higher degree of association followed by Leisingera, Alteromonas, Nautella, Halomonas and Ruegeria. The association of bacterial groups belonging to the genera Idiomarina, Albidovulum and Staphylococcus were also detected. The variation of bacterial diversity in microalgal habitat with changes in environmental conditions was also discussed in the present work. In overall, the present study gives a greater insight to the algal microhabitat which would be vital for improving stability, productivity, sustainability and reliability of large scale microalgal cultivation and their feeding to the target aquaculture species.


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