Traditional fishing activities enhance the abundance of selected waterbird species in a wetland in India

K. M. Aarif, Aymen Nefla, S. B. Muzaffar, K. K. Musammilu, P. K. Prasadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Waterbirds are globally declining as a result of habitat loss, alteration or degradation. Fishing activities may affect waterbird distribution, abundance and diversity, and traditional fishing activities often enhance waterbird abundance. We tested this hypothesis by studying the abundance and diversity of selected common waterbird species in the Kadalundi-Vallikkunnu Community Reserve, a globally significant wetland in southwestern India in relation to fishing activities. Methods: We monitored waterbird abundance four times a month from 2012 to 2015 using direct observation method during low tide. Traditional bamboo fish traps were deployed during the first and third weeks of each month. ANOVAs (one-way and multi-way) were used to examine how waterbird counts diversity varied in relation to years, seasons and period of fishing traps. Additionally we conducted a linear regression to examine the relationship between fish occurrence and waterbird counts and diversity. Results: Waterbird counts varied with years and seasons, with the maximum counts being recorded during the post-monsoon (winter). Individual species varied in their responses to trap deployment. Small waterbird species usually forage in shallow shorelines, increased during trap deployment whereas the larger waterbirds were not affected by trap deployment because they tend to hunt in deeper waters. The total fish captured was an important predictor of both waterbird abundance and diversity. Conclusion: In this study we documented a positive association between traditional fish trap deployment and waterbird counts and diversity. Providing high quality habitats for waterbirds as well as effective sustainable livelihoods through traditional fisheries is a critical management issue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalAvian Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 30 2017


  • Fish capture
  • Fish trap
  • Kadalundi-Vallikkunnu Community Reserve
  • Traditional fishery
  • Waterbird abundance
  • Waterbird diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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