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“Karimeen’’, which is also known as 'Pearl spot fish’, is one of the most important fish species in Kerala and have the special ability to live equally in both pure and saline waters. Karimeeen (Etroplus Suratensis) is considered as the brand ambassador of Kerala Fisheries and has been approved as the state fish of Kerala by NBFGR (National Bureau of Fisheries and Genetic Resources) and the Government of Kerala. To promote and protect Karimeen fishery, scheme called “ Karimeen Varsham” has been launched and the scheme is implementing through FFDAs.

They are mainly found in rivers, ponds, farm fields, canals and estuaries found throughout Kerala, especially in Kerala Backwaters around Travancore-Cochin, Malabar and South Kanara along the west coast. Karimeen is highly valued for its good taste and occupies an outstanding position among the fish eaters. The fishermen in inland water give more attention to catch this fish.

Due to natural disasters like floods and man-made changes like construction of bunds the Karimeen population has been decreasing and efforts are being made to revive the situation.

The fish is cultured in the traditional manner, in the 'Pokkali' fields (paddy fields). Fishing operations begin in November, soon after the North – East Monsoon, when the Paddy fields contain a lot of organic matter left after the paddy harvest and plenty of organic and inorganic matter brought down by November floods. Harvesting of fish begins by the end of December or beginning of January. Karimeen & shrimp are often grown together in the Paddy fields.