The Institute has one of the best-specialized libraries in the field of fisheries and marine science. The rare and old publications in marine science and fisheries are housed at the Mandapam Regional Centre while the state of the art library in the headquarters has over 60,000 books and periodicals and over 400 scientific journals. There are about 80 foreign and over 50 Indian journals subscribed in addition to 235 journals accessible in the electronic form through Internet. The digital library with substantial digital resources including videos is connected by LAN to all computers in the headquarters for easy access to users from their desktops. Monthly abstracting and title page service through hard copy is sent to all research centers for keeping scientists working in the centers updated. Computerized search facility and electronic check in and check out are also available. The ARIS cell provides replies to all subject related enquiries as well as manages and updates the websites of the Institute
CMFRI has so far published over 6000 research papers in Indian and Foreign journals apart from books, special publications and newsletters. In addition, the CMFRI Newsletter, Marine Fisheries Information Service and the Indian Journal of Fisheries are published quarterly to keep everyone informed about the recent research and developments.

The marine environment supports and sustains an incredibly diversified array of organisms exhibiting myriad forms, shapes and characteristics. The marine resources have been explored by man since time immemorial. The search for new resources continues and the process seems to be never ending as every day species which are entirely new to science are being discovered. Therefore, it is imperative to have a repository of collection of specimens in one place, for future reference.

The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) realized the importance and need for a biodiversity museum even in the early 1960s and established one at Mandapam, which was the then Headquarters of the Institute. This museum till date stays a forerunner of marine biodiversity museums in the country, with its awesome collections of marine organisms.

India is a signatory to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). It is mandatory for all the signatory nations to strengthen their capacity by designating national reference centres for all the organisms, including the microbes. In this backdrop, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute felt the need to establish a modernized marine biodiversity museum which would serve as a national reference facility, catering to the needs of marine biologists of the country.
The realization manifested in establishing a Marine Biodiversity Referral Museum at its Headquarters at Cochin, which was inaugurated by Padma Vibhushan Prof. M. S. Swaminathan, Chairman, National Commission on Farmers, Govt. of India on 4th February, 2006. The museum houses 1541 specimen belonging to various phyla.

A view of the marine biodiversity referral museum
The museum displays diverse organisms collected from a wide spectrum of niches ranging from estuaries to coastal and deeper waters of the Indian seas. The museum is also a repository of some of the rare collections from the Antarctic region. The fossil remains of Pleistocene era add to the rarity of the collections. Besides, the splendid display of molluscan shells and corals would be any collector’s delight.

Snapshots of the decked specimens

Snapshots of the decked specimens
The collections are arranged systematically in a groupwise manner so that the visitors can have a better understanding of the resources. Currently, the museum houses 824 specimen of fin fishes, 117 crustaceans, 249 molluscs, 45 echinoderms, 153 corals, 35 sponges, 20 ascidians, 82 sea weeds, a dolphin and 3 Antarctic birds. Besides, the mermaid’s purse and the eggs and hatchlings of the Olive Ridley turtle add to the fascination of the visitors. The museum also provides a computerized database of the collections through a user-friendly MSAccess format.
The Marine Biodiversity Referral Museum has opened up avenues for researchers of the country who are conducting research in marine sciences to preserve their valuable holotypes/paratypes of specimen for future reference. The museum is being regularly accessed by scientists, teachers, students and the general public from all over the country and also by researchers from the overseas.