Miss Kerala not endangered: aquarists

What is the News?

Denison barb (Miss Kerala), a fish species, has been included in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021.

However, aquarists and ornamental fish breeders have issues with this inclusion.

What is Denison barb (Miss Kerala)?

Denison barb (Miss Kerala) is also known as red-line torpedo barb, or roseline shark.

It is a native freshwater fish species, commonly found in parts of Karnataka and Kerala.

The fish is featured with red and black stripes on its body.

IUCN Status: Endangered

Threats: The fish species is being exploited for the aquarium trade.

What are the issues with the inclusion of Denison barb under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021?

Firstly, the scientific name given to the Denison barb is Puntius denisonii. This is wrong. It should have been named Sahyadria denisonii.

Secondly, the inclusion of Denison barb in Schedule I is literally a ban. This is wrong because:

– This fish species is found in almost 11 rivers of Kerala and Karnataka with some of the highest endemic aquatic fauna in the country.

– The income from the collection of Denison barb for the fish trade acts as an incentive for fishermen to protect habitats.

Hence, it would have been preferable to better regulate the trade by including the species in Schedule IV instead of Schedule I.

Source: This post is based on the article ‘Miss Kerala not endangered: aquarists published in The Hindu on 20th January 2022.

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