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India exported 1.5 million endangered fishes: Report

KOLKATA: Bowing down to demands from the booming aquarium industry, India exported more than 1.5 million threatened freshwater fishes in the last seven years affecting the future of the country's aquatic diversity, says a report.

"More than 1.5 million freshwater fish belonging to 30 threatened species were exported from India during the years 2005-2012," says the study prepared by a group of scientists led by Kochi-based ecologist Rajeev Raghavan.

Published in the latest issue of international journal Biological Conservation, it says the trade in threatened species comprise 30 per cent of the total exports of at least five million aquarium fishes.

Of the 1.5 million threatened fishes, the major share was contributed by three species - Botia striata (Endangered), Carinotetraodon travancoricus (Vulnerable) and the Red Lined Torpedo Barbs (Endangered).

Most wild-caught aquarium fish originating from India come from two global biodiversity hotspots of Eastern Himalaya and Western Ghats, known for their remarkable freshwater biodiversity and endemism, says Raghavan, involved with the Conservation Research Group at Kochi's St Albert's College.

With the reported aquarium fish trade exports from India were worth in excess of 1.6 million USD for the seven-year period, the scientists warn that the collection of fish for aquarium pet trade in such large numbers is a major threat to its wild population.

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