65 FISH SPECIES OF KERALA :Prepared by a Marine Student

  •  I thank Sruthi (Master of Fisheries student)


 Well you know i am IT proffesional and to be frank i am iliterate when it comes to marine species details in kerala. And of course  now you many be wondering  then what is article all about , Well This platform (www.jithumpablog.com)is open to all contents that is useful to the world . And i belive this article is truly fall in that category, So i thought about sharing it with you people. This article is only designed by me and it is purely the research product of my friend Sruthi.


Resource Analysis

  • The State of Kerala is abundantly rich with marine, brackish water and fresh water resources. These water bodies are inhabited by a wide variety of aquatic fauna & flora and the State occupies one of the foremost positions in the aquatic biodiversity . The long coastline and the

extensive inland waters of the State have brought people belonging to different ethnic groups in contact with fishing.


Kerala Marine Details 

Coastline – 590 km

  • Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)-extends up to 200 nautical miles (area -218536 sq km) Continental shelf area – 39139 sq.km( the area within the 18m depth range account for 5000 sq.km, the area between 18-73m is approximately 25000 sq.km and 73-182 is the balance area. The profile of the shelf is with uniform gradient up to 80m depth and thereafter the slope appears more).
  • The south-west coastal region has certain unique features that influence the fishery fluctuations of the important commercial species to a great extent.
  • The area is subjected to two monsoons – the south-west monsoon and the north-east monsoon. (The south-west monsoon coincides with the period of upwelling and phytoplankton bloom, which results in a large number of fish and crustaceans in the area. However, maximum utilization is only in 50m depth i.e., around 22 km from the coastline).

Kerala Inland Detials

  • Geographically, inland fisheries have great scope in the State. An inimitable feature of the State is the occurrence of 49 interconnected backwaters (Kayals) which have an area of 46129 ha. The total brackish water resources of the State is estimated as 1, 43,696 ha. The State is endowed with a total area of about 2, 26,274 ha of fresh water resources consisting of rivers, fresh water
  • lakes, reservoirs, minor irrigation tanks, ponds etc. Of these about 1,30,000 ha area is ideally suited for fresh water fish culture.

Marine   fish  species  in  Kerala

Some important marine fish species , and their details ,  found in kerala are given below.

1.Indian Oil Sardine

  • Scientific name –  Sardinella longiceps
  • Malayalam name – Chala , Nalla mathi , Neichala
  • Distribution  –  Most important fish species exploited on the west coast of India especially between Quilon(kerala) and Ratnagiri(Maharashtra); coasts of Indonesia, Philippines and westward to East Africa.
  • Importance – Best known commercially important  foof species; the oil extracted from this sardine is of great industrial value and also used for painting canoes.

2.Indian Mackerel

  • Scientific name – Rastrelliger kanagurta
  • Malayalam name – Ayala/Ayila
  • Distribution  –  Widesread in the Indo-Pacific (the bulk of the catches (80%) are obtained from the west coast, off Ratnagiri-Quilon region)
  • Importance – A common and important food fish; fishery is of high magnitude on Indian coast

3.Gold-Striped Sardine

  • Scientific name – Sardinella gibbosa
  • Malayalam name – Chala , Mathi , Karichala
  • Distribution – East coast of  Africa, Madagascar, Red Sea, India, through Malay Archipelageo to Philipenes, Hong Kong, Taiwan to northern tip of Australia
  • Importance – A common food fish caught from the east coast of India

4.Fringe-Scale Sardine

  • Scientific name – Sardinella fimbriata
  • Malayalam name – Kari-chala , Chalamathi
  • Distribution – India, Indo-Malayan Archipelageoto Philipenes and New Guinea
  • Importance – A common food fish ;Considered as an intermittent and unpredictable visitor to the southwest coast of India

5.Black Pomret

  • Scientific name – Parastromateus niger
  • Malayalam name – Avoli, Karutha avoli, Maachaan
  • Distribution – Indo-West Pacific; Inhabits midwaters near coast over the continental shelf, down to 100m
  • Importance – A popular food fish; fish which is caught along with the silver and Chinese pomfrets

6.Silver Pomfret

  • Scientific name – Pampus argenteus
  • Malayalam name – Velutha avoli
  • Distribution –  Persian Gulf to Japan; Inhabits muddy bottoms, down to 100m ( abundantly caught on the Gujarat, Maharashtra and Kerala coasts
  • Importance – One of the best table fishes

7.Seer Fish, King-fish, Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel

  • Scientific Name: Scomberomorus commerson
  • Malayalam: Naimeen / Ayakoora/Varimeen/Nanmeen
  • Distribution – Wide spread throughout the indo-West Pacific and Mediterranean seas (Caught all along the Indian Coast and Andaman Sea)
  • Importance – A high valued food fish

8.Spotted-SeerFish/ Indo-Pacific king mackerel/ Indo-Pacific Seerfish

  • Scientific Name: Scomberomorus guttatus
  • Malayalam: Naimeen / Ayakoora/ Nanmeen/ Varimeen
  • Distribution – A pelagic migratory fish found in continental Indo-West Pacific from Gulf of Thailand westward to Persian Gulf
  • Importance – A good demand food fish


  • Scientific Name –  Acanthocybium solandri
  • Malayalam – Ayakoora/ Oria-neimeen/Oria meen
  • Distribution –  A cosmopolitan species , primarily found in high seas around the world in tropical and sub-tropical waters (Caught occasionally at Vizhinjam (Kerala) by open sea fishermen using hooks baited)
  • Importance – Known the world over as one of the best game fishes

10.Kawa Kawa/ Mackerel Tuna/ Little Tunny

  • Scientific Name- Euthynnus affinis
  • Malayalam- Urulan Choora/ Kudutha
  • Distribution – Tropical Indo-West Pacific ; Found in Coastal waters and along reefs; And offshore islands ;Occurs on several places along the coast of India , mainly caught at Vizhinjam (Kerala) , Gulf of Mannar, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman Islands
  • Importance – Food fish

11.Pacific Bonito

  • Scientific Name: Sarda chilensis
  • Malayalam: Choora
  • Distribution – Southeast Pacific: northern Peru to Talcahuano, Chile. The northern subspecies Sarda chiliensis lineolata occurs from off the coast of Alaska, southward to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja California, and in the Revillagigedo Islands.
  • Importance – Utilized fresh, canned and frozen; eaten broiled and baked

12.Pacific Bluefin Tuna

  • Scientific Name: Thunnus orientalis
  • Malayalam: Choora

13.Striped Bonito

  • Scientific Name: Sarda orientalis
  • Malayalam: Kanimeen/Neimeen Choora, Vaari Choora
  • Distribution – Indo-West Pacific. Inhabits coastal waters, East and west coast of India

14.Frigate Tuna

  • Scientific Name: Auxis thazard thazard
  • Malayalam: Elichoora, Ayalachoora
  • Distribution – Tropical and sub-tropical waters of Indian, Pacific, and Atlandic Oceans, Occures on the west coast from Ratnagiri southwards, Lakshadweep Islands and the Gulf of Mannar.

15.Blacktip Shark

  • Scientific Name: Carcharhinus limbatus
  • Malayalam: Sraavu, choraku
  • Distribution – Wide spread in the tropical and sub-tropical Atlandic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Inhbits coastal as well as off shore waters, Occationally enters estuaries in shallowmuddy bays, more abundant on  Tamil Nadu coast.
  • Importance – An active and fast swimming species often occurs in large schools at the surface.

16.Spadenose Shark/ Indian Dog Shark/ Yellow Dog Shark

  • Scientific Name: Scoliodon laticaudus
  • Malayalam: Alupidiyan Sraavu/ Pooi Sravu/ choraku
  • Distribution – Indo West Pacific, Inhabits inshore and offshore waters, enters brackish waters
  • Importance – This species constitutes a good fishery along the west and southeast coast of India, particularly in the near shore waters, Hoogly Estuary and Chilka Lake.

17.Whitecheek Shark

  • Scientific Name: Carcharhinus dussumieri
  • Malayalam: Sraavu, choraku
  • Distribution – Indo West Pacific, commonly caught on the west coast of India, especially keral coast.
  • Importance – The liver oil is rich in Vitamin- C

18.Javanese Cow Nose Ray

  • Scientific Name: Rhinoptera javanica
  • Malayalam: Therandi, Tirandi, Neithirandi
  • Distribution – Tropical Indo- West Pacific, mainly located at Kanyakumari Banks
  • Importance – A gregarious oyster eating species

19.Whiptail Sting Ray

  • Scientific Name: Dasyatis bleekeri
  • Malayalam: Therandi, Tirandi
  • Distribution – Widespread in the tropical Indo-West Pacific, commonly caught from the east coast of India

20.Pink perch/ Japanese Threadfin Bream

  • Scientific Name: Nemipterus japonicus
  • Malayalam: Kilimeen/Puthiyapla kora/Chenkalava
  • Distribution – Mediteranean and Indo-West Pacific, Maximum landings are reported from the Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa coast
  • Importance – Food fish, commercially important

21.Convict Surgeonfish

  • Scientific Name: Acanthurus triostegus
  • Malayalam: Kurichil, Kozhimeen
  • Distribution – Widespread in the tropical Indo-West Pacific, Commonly caught in the Andaman waters and occasionally caught in the inshore catches on Tamil Nadu coast.
  • Importance – Ornamental fish species

22.Indian Anchovy

  • Scientific Name: Stolephorus indicus
  • Malayalam: Kozhuva, Natholi, Nethal
  • Distribution – Indo-Pacific, from Zanzibar through India to Taiwan.
  • Importance – A coastal pelagic species , commercially important.

23.Silver Moony/ Silver bat-fish

  • Scientific Name: Monodactylus Argenteus
  • Malayalam: Aakoli/Vaval meen
  • Distribution – Wide spread in the tropical Indo- Pacific, Common in the coastal waters and trawling grounds, Most common on the Kerala coast during monsoon months.

24.Jew fish

  • Scientific Name: Protonibea diacanthus
  • Malayalam: Katla/Ghol
  • Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Gulf of Oman, East Indies, China, Japan, Philippines and Western Australia, Abundantly caught along the Gujarat Coast and down to Bombay on the Maharashtra Coast, Also caught in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay region of Tamil Nadu.
  • Importance – Food fish

25.Malabar Tongue Sole, Sole Fish

  • Scientific Name: Cynoglossus macrostomus
  • Malayalam: Nangu, Manthal
  • Distribution – Indian coasts
  • Importance – Food fish

26.Bluefin Trevally/ Black-Tipped Trevally

  • Scientific Name: Caranx melampygus
    Malayalam: Vatta/ Vela paara
  • Distribution – Indo-west pacific( inhabits coral and rocky reefs)
  • Importance – Food fish

27.False Trevally/White fish/Big-jawed jumper

  • Scientific Name: Lactarius lactarius
    Malayalam: Parava
  • Distribution – Widespread in the tropical indo-West Pacific
  • Importance – Food fish

28.Finletted Mackerel/Hard tailed scad/ Horse mackerel/Torpedo scad/ Torpedo trevally

  • Scientific Name: Megalaspis cordyla
  • Malayalam: Thiriyan/ Vangada/ Kanni ayala/Kanayan paara/ Kanameen/ Kaattayila
  • Distribution – Widespread in the tropical Indo-West Pacific
  • Importance – Food fish

29.Blacktip Sea Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Arius dussumieri
  • Malayalam: Valiya eatta
  • Distribution – West Madagascar, Pakisthan, india, Bangladesh and Srilanka
  • Importance – Food fish

30.Malabar thryssa/ Malabar Anchovy

  • Scientific Name: Thryssa malabarica
  • Malayalam: Kavu Manangu
  • Distribution – Pakistan and India(East and West coast)
  • Importance – Food fish

31.White sardine

  • Scientific Name: Escualosa thoracata
  • Malayalam: Veloori
  • Distribution – India, Pakistan,Sri  Lanka, Indo-Malayan Archipelago to Queenland (Australia)
  • Importance – Food fish

32.Black Spot Snapper

Scientific Name: Lutjanus fulviflammus
Malayalam: Pahari, murumeen

Distribution – Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to Samoa, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to Australia.

Importance – Commercial fish, gamefish, aquarium fish

33.Pickhandle barracuda

  • Scientific Name: Sphyraena jello
  • Malayalam: Seelavu/Cheelavu
  • Distribution – Indo-West Pacific
  • Importance – Food fish


Inlandwater  fish  species  in  Kerala

Some of the common inland water fish species , and their details ,   found in kerala


34.Stinging Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Heteropneustes fossilis
  • Malayalam: Kaari/Kadumeen/Moyya/Kari
  • Distribution – India,Pakistan,Bangladesh,Sri lanka,Burma,Thailand,etc. (Inhabits fresh waters and rarely brackish waters)
  • Importance – Food fish. A fish of great demand because of the reported medicinal and invigorating quality of the flesh.During dry season this fish lives in semi-dried mud. It’s air breathing apparatus enables it to exist in almost any kind of water.

35.Walking Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Clarias batrachus
  • Malayalam name: Mushi, Muzhi, Mozhi/Yeri vaalah
  • Distribution – India, Bangladesh, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines,etc.
  • Importance – This fish is abundant in ponds and rivers and they live concealed in the mud for hours. More common in the derelict swampy waters.With the help of the accessory respiratory organ, it can live out of water for hours and can move short distances over land. It is highly esteemed for its nourishing properties and for quick recovery from prolonged illness. The air-bladder is used for making isinglass.


36.Yellow Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Horabagrus brachysoma
  • Malayalam: Manjakkoori

37.Longwhiskered Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Mystus gulio
    Malayalam: Vellakkoori/ Kada-kelithi
  • Distribution – India, Pakistan, Burma and Bangladesh. Common species in thr Gangetic estuary, Chilka lake and Kerala backwaters.
  • Importance – Partly marine.


  • Scientific Name: Wallago attu
  • Malayalam: Attu walah, Valah
  • Distribution – India , Pakistan , Nepal , Sri Lanka , Bangladesh , Thailand , Burma , Vietnam , Kampuchea , Malay peninsula and Indonesia.
  • Importance – One of the largest, voracious and predatory catfishes. An esteemed food fish.

39.Giant Danio

  • Scientific Name: Danio malabaricus
  • Malayalam: Paral

40.Karnataka Barb

  • Scientific Name: Puntius carnaticus
  • Malayalam: Pachilavetti

41.Peninsular Olive Barb

  • Scientific Name: Puntius sarana
  • Malayalam: Kuruva, Kuruva paral

42.Tiger Panchax

  • Scientific Name: Aplocheilus lineatus
  • Malayalam: Poonjan, Manathukanni, Poochutti

43.Green Chromide

  • Scientific name – Etroplus surstensis
  • Malayalam name – Karimeen
  • Distribution – India , Sri Lanka. This species is very common in the brackish waters of the States of Kerala , Tamil Nadu , Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
  • Importance – A delicious fish.

44.Orange chromide

  • Scientific Name: Etroplus maculatus
  • Malayalam: Pallathi


45.Grey Mullet / Flat-Head Mullet

  • Scientific Name: Mugil cephalus
  • Malayalam: Kanambu , Thirutha kanambu
  • Distribution – World-wide in temperate and tropical waters. Abundantly caught from the Chilka lake, Mahanadi, Godavari Estuaries , Pulikkat lake , Mandapam and Palk Bay.
  • Importance – The most common and widely distributed species of mullets in India; Food fish.

46.Freshwater Garfish

  • Scientific Name: Xenentodon cancila
  • Malayalam: Kola

47.Malabar leaf fish, Common catopra

  • Scientific Name: Pristolepis marginata
  • Malayalam: Pannakarimeen, Karipidi, Chuttichi

48.Tire track eel

  • Scientific Name: Mastacembelus armatus
  • Malayalam: Kallaral

49.Indian mottled eel

  • Scientific Name: Anguilla bengalensis bengalensis
  • Malayalam: Malanjil/Mananjil/Vilangu/Aarel
  • Distribution – India , Pakistan , Sri Lanka , Burma and Malay Archipelago.
  • Importance : Significant commercial value in Maharshtra and the east coast of India and Andaman Islands.

50.Cobra Snakyehead, Great Snakehead, Bullseye Snakehead

  • Scientific Name: Channa marulius
  • Malayalam: Chaeru meen, Chaeru varaal, Varaal
  • Distribution : India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, China and Burma.
  • Importance : An important component in the fresh water fishery. The flesh is esteemed.

51.Tank goby

  • Scientific Name: Glossogobius giuris
  • Malayalam: Poolan, poolon

52.Striped Snake-head, Banded Snake-head

  • Scientific Name: Channa striatus
    Malayalam: Varaal, Vaaka varaal
  • Distribution : India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, Malay Archipelago, Thailand and South China.
  • Importance : An important fish in the freshwater fishery. The flesh is firm , white and of a most agreeable flavour.


  • Scientific Name: Catla catla
  • Malayalam : Catla, Karakatla
  • Distribution : India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, China and Sri Lanka.
  • Importance : One of the renowned and fast growing major carps. A good food fish, when medium sized. Five hybrids of this species have successfully developed through the induced breeding technique.


  • Scientific Name: Labeo rohita
  • Malayalam : Rohu, Rohithan
  • Distribution : North and Central India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Burma.
  • Importance : One of the major carps of India. A good food fish.


  • Scientific Name: Cirrhinus mrigala
  • Malayalam : Mrigal, Mrigalam
  • Distribution : Northern and Eastern India , Punjab to West Bengal and Assam , Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Importance : A Fish of Elegant appearance. A good food fish. A large number of intergeneric hybrids has been produced by the CIFRI at Barrackpore.

56.Fringed Lip Carp

  • Scientific Name:  Labeo fimbriatus

57.Malabar Labeo

  • Scientific Name: Labeo dussumieri

58.Puntius sarana

  • Scientific Name:

59.Black rohu

  • Scientific Name: Labeo calbasu

60.Grass carp

  • Scientific Name: Ctenopharyngodon idella
  • Malayalam :
  • Distribution : Primarily China and USSR. Introduced into many countries including India, in recent times.
  • Importance : Introduced in India By the CIFRI through the fingerlings brought from Hong Kong. In addition to culture importance , this species is an effective biologicl aquatic weed control.

61.Silver carp

  • Scientific Name: Hypophthalmychthis molitrics
  • Malayalam :
  • Distribution : Primarily China and later introduced to many countries including India, Pakistan , Nepal, Bangladesh , Sri Lanka and Burma.
  • Importance : A food fish. The breeding is done in the technique same as that for Indian Major Carps.

62.Leather carp

  • Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio var nudus
  • Malayalam: Carp
  • Importance: Food fish


  • Scientific Name: Tilapia mosambicus
  • Malayalam : Thilapia, Thilopia
  • Distribution : East Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.
  • Impotance : A fish which is introduced in India. Tilapia can be bred easily and is a hardy fish. Cultured as a warm water food fish in over 30 developing countries.


Scientific Name: Piaractus brachypomus

65.Deccan mahaseer

  • Scientific Name: Tor khudree
  • Malayalam : Aatu kenda, Meruval
  • Distribution : India and Sri Lanka
  • Importance : This fish is important for angling and food and also considered to be of medicinal value.

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