Reef associated fishes

  • The ornamental reef fish survey has been carried out in the Gulf of Mannar since 2002. During 2002-2008, a total of 62 species of reef-dwelling fishes and 7 species of reef-associated fishes have been recorded.
  • The sightings were classified into four categories: Highly Threatened (<2), Rare (2–4), Minimal Impact (5–20) and Common (>20). The survey reveals 11 species to be threatened, 41 rare, 5 having minimal impact and 12 to be common in 2008. This is a contradiction when compared to the 2002 records where 11 of the species were found to be rare and 58 were commonly sighted.
  • The highly threatened species include coral cat fish, green razor, powder blue tang, clown tang, Indian yellow tail angel, Koran angel, sargassum fish, argur grouper, blue and yellow grouper, queen coris and Africana coris.
  • The survey also reveals that the trap fishing for ornamental fishes is posing severe threat to the reef habitats as it damages the reefs to larger extent while fixing and retrieval. The drastic exploitation of parrot fish (Scarus ghobban) by traps has already depleted these herbivorous fish resources vastly which lead to the dominance of macro algae (Caulerpa recemosa) on reefs.