Giant fish caught off Tuticorin

Tuticorin: A giant Devil ray (Manta birosis) was caught at the fishing harbour here on Friday night. The fish, weighing a tonne, is also known as ‘kombu thirukkai’ or ‘yanai thirukkai.’

Prize catch: Devil ray fish caught off Tuticorin. — Photo: N. Rajesh

The width of the fish, which is black in colour, is 360 cm while the length is 240 cm. It was caught 45 km off Tuticorin. B. Thangaraj, Technical Assistant, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Tuticorin, who made a monitoring operation at fish landing centre here, said that the fish might have caught in the trawl net.

A huge crowd of fishermen gathered to look at the fish which was sold for Rs. 5, 800 through auction at the fish landing centre. “It is not a rare phenomenon and this type of fishes have landed here on many occasions. During 2006, a devil ray weighing about 1,200 kg was caught; in 2001 on weighing 1,850 kg and in 1990 a couple of the same fishes weighing 1,200 kg and 1,150 kg landed here,” K.K. Joshi, Senior Scientist, CMFRI, said here on Saturday.

“Usually, these species of fishes migrate to shallow muddy bays, inter tidal regions and off coral reefs. Even though it is a giant Devil ray, its feed is mainly minute organism such as phytoplankton, zooplankton and small fishes,” he added. Referring to the fish, J.D. Jameson, Dean in charge, Fisheries College and Research Institute, said it was pelagic but frequently it would move inshore and near coral reefs of Gulf of Mannar. It would have migrated from a distant pelagic coral reef zone of the sea coast to the gulf due to rich planktonic food availability, he said.



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