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Fisheries enhancement and biodiversity assessment of fish, prawn and mud crab in Chilika lagoon through hydrological intervention

Abstract

The degraded state of the fragile ecosystem of Chilika lagoon on the east coast of India caused by natural changes and anthropogenic pressure was in the process of restoration through an effective hydrological intervention during 2000 after thorough scientific investigation including EIA study. The rich fisheries of Chilika lagoon that support livelihood of 0.2 million local fisherfolk was in dwindling state during the eco-degradation phase. Studies on fisheries and fish biodiversity of the lagoon for 4 years before and 4 years after the intervention showed the stark and rapid recovery of fishery immediately after opening of the new mouth with sixfold increase in average annual landing. The average productivity (11.3 t km−2) and CPUE (6.2 kg boat-day−1) during post intervention phase registered 528 and 464% increase, as compared to Pre-intervention years. In total, 277 species of fish and shell fish were documented as occurring in Chilika lagoon before the hydrological intervention. Inventory survey for fish and shell fish species diversity during and after hydrological intervention documented 68 and 97 species, respectively. New records of 56 species of fish and shell fish (7 freshwater, 20 brackishwater and 29 marine) were documented from Chilika lagoon after the hydrological intervention. Analysis of commercial catches showed that the migratory species contributed to the bulk of catches (75% by species and 68% by catch weight). Fish yield and biodiversity seemed to be very sensitive to salinity and hydrologic dynamics of the lagoon. Correlation analysis indicated inverse relationship between water transparency and fish catch (R 2 = 0.715; d.f. = 25; P < 0.01). Positive correlation between salinity and prawn landing (R 2 = 0.542; d.f. = 25; P < 0.01) and salinity and mud crab landing (R 2 = 0.628; d.f. = 25; P < 0.001). Average salinity for the whole lagoon was significantly increased by 42.7% (P < 0.007) as compared to pre-intervention situation. Maintenance of estuarine character of Chilika’s ecosystem particularly the salinity gradient, un-hindered auto-recruitment of fish and shell fish and prevention of destructive fishing are the key factors for fisheries enhancement. Unless carefully planned conservation and regulation measures are ensured with the active participation of local communities during the early phase of restoration, the present scenario of fisheries enhancement may not sustain for longer time.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are indebted to Dr. A.K. Pattanaik, Chief Executive, Chilika Development Authority, Bhubaneswar for providing research facilities, financial support and constant encouragements during the course of this study. Our grateful acknowledgements are also due to the Director of Fisheries, Orissa State for providing the fish and shell fish landing statistics from 1985–1986 to 1999–2000. We further gratefully acknowledge the valuable comments of two anonymous referees and the managing editor that improved the final version of the manuscript. The study was supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi.

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Mohapatra, A., Mohanty, R.K., Mohanty, S.K. et al. Fisheries enhancement and biodiversity assessment of fish, prawn and mud crab in Chilika lagoon through hydrological intervention. Wetlands Ecol Manage 15, 229–251 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-006-9025-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-006-9025-3

Keywords

  • Chilika lagoon
  • Fisheries enhancement
  • Hydrological intervention
  • Fish biodiversity