Green mussel production increased in Malabar region in 2022: CMFRI

Production of green mussel (Kalumakaya) from the Malabar region comprising Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod recorded a significant increase in 2022, according to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.

Production from aquaculture recorded a 160 percent increase last year compared to 2021, while a 15 percent increase was recorded in the landing of green mussels from the sea. The bulk of the farmed production was from Padanna in Kasaragod district. The main landings were recorded at Moodadi, followed by Telai, Kozhikode South Beach and then Elathur. The increased abundance of mussel larvae (seeds) in the sea has led to the entry of many mussel farming facilities which has helped to increase production from culture.

However, the CMFRI scientists note that the increase in production has not helped mussel farmers and mussel collectors generate relative income due to lower prices. To solve this problem, CMFRI proposed to focus on developing value-added products from green mussels.

The report was presented at a stakeholder workshop held at the CMFRI Regional Station in Kozhikode.

According to CMFRI, marine fish landings in the region increased with a total production of 1.99 lakh tons from the four Malabar districts last year, a 38 percent increase over 2021 mainly contributed to the increase in oil landings of Indian sardine and mackerel. The district contributed 29 percent to the marine fish landings in Kerala which was 6.87 thousand tons per annum.

TM Najmuddin, Principal Scientist and V Mahesh, CMFRI Scientist presented the case report at the workshop attended by representatives of fishermen, boat owners, traders, workers in allied areas, the state fisheries department and other agencies.

Habitat degradation

K Vinod, chief of the regional station in Calicut, said degradation of estuarine habitats is affecting coastal fish production. The formation of sand bars in river estuaries disrupts the natural flow of water and the ecological balance affecting fisheries resources. He said restoring the estuary ecosystem and mangrove wetlands is also essential for the healthy production of marine fish in coastal waters.

The fishermen expressed concern about the recent trend towards lower export prices of shrimp species. They said ways should be explored to take advantage of the prospects of deep sea resources. For them, the massive exploitation of stray fish in an unscientific way would be detrimental to the sustainability of the resource. They also demanded that the Malabar region be given adequate representation in policy making and fisheries infrastructure support. In an effort to make MLS (minimum legal size) regulations effective, this needs to be implemented across the value chain.