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Population characteristics and exploitation of the important marine prawns of ambalapuzha kerala india

Population characteristics and exploitation of the important marine prawns of ambalapuzha kerala india

Indian Journal of Fisheries 21(1): 183-210

The prawn fishery of Ambalapuzha [India] is carried out by trawl nets from Oct.-May, and by the indigenous gear from the June-Sept when the extensive mud-bank formations occur in this region. The fishing ground extends from 4-40 m in depth, the shallow water (4-10 m) zone being fished by the non-mechanized boats and the 10-40 m depth zone by the mechanized vessels. The fishery is supported by 3 spp. of penaeid prawns,, Metapenaeus dobsoni (Miers), Parapenaeopsis stylifera (H. Milne Edwards) and Penaeus indicus H. Milne Edwards. The populations of all these species are predominantly composed of females, although in M. dobsoni and P. stylifera males are found in higher proportion than females in the lower size groups. The preponderance of females in the population and the disparity in the sex ratios in different size groups have been attributed to the reproductive activities and differential growth rate of the sexes. The bulk of the commercial fishery of M. dobsoni and P. stylifera is supported by the 7-12 mo. old prawns and that of P. indicus by the 7-18 mo. old prawns. The majority of the spawning population in the former 2 spp. is composed of O yr old females and in the latter species by the 1 yr old females. The monthly landings of the different species and the effort expanded show wide fluctuations. However, the catch per unit of effort and the mean size of the different species do not show a regular declining trend. The successful spawning by the surviving spawners and the subsequent recruitment of younger prawns into the fishable stock greatly influence the fluctuations in the landings. Ecological changes brought out by the physico-chemical disturbances in the environment and their influence on prawn landings are discussed.

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