Measurement of riverine biota, particularly benthic macroinvertebrates (such as crustaceans and aquatic insects) and fish, has become a widely accepted method of identifying the structural or functional integrity and the overall health of a riverine system. This manual from the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB), describes in detail the field procedures to be followed in such fish monitoring/measurement surveys, conducted for riverine ecological systems.
KSBB has taken up this manual publication effort, in the conxtet of a state-wide fish monitoring programme, that aims to survey all the 44 rivers of Kerala with the involvement of resource persons from local colleges, research institutes, experts and fisherpeople community.
The idea is to have a simultaneous fish count in all the rivers of the State. It also envisages testing the tissue samples of fish as an indirect measure of water quality. Besides collecting systematic data, this exercise would also help in involving local communities in river conservation initiatives.
The fish monitoring programme is envisaged to be an annual event, as it would not only reveal the fluctuations in the fish population between years, but also indicate the overall health of the riverine ecosystem and its trend.
The manual contains methodology-related details about the scoping study, site selection, weather, stream characterisation, watershed features, riparian vegetation, instream features, aquatic vegetation, water quality, bottom substrates, fish data collection, collection of fish tissue, checklist for the survey and final report preparation. The annexures contain templates of the data collection sheets.
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