Above: Women fishing in small pools near (सादिया घाट) Sadiya Ghat on (लोहित) Lohit and Dibang Rivers. Women use several gear, baskets and nets to catch fish from the slush. The activity is accompanied by laughter, chatter and songs. Photo: Author
21st November is celebrated as World Fisheries Day. Since the past few years we have been trying to highlight the significance and richness of India’s riverine fisheries which support over 10 million people by providing livelihoods and nutritional security. Ironically, although India is the world’s biggest inland fish producer, our riverine fisheries are woefully neglected. We do not have a record of riverine fish catch and its trends, people dependent on riverine fishing, species of fish and their population trends, etc. Interventions like dams, water abstraction and pollution have severely affected riverine fisheries, which do not find a place in the dominant water management narrative.
This does not dampen the scale, diversity and the beauty of riverine fisheries and fishing communities in India. And so, this Word Fisheries Day, we try to put together a photo journey looking at some fish-rich rivers and some remarkable fishing communities in the country. We would be grateful if you could share information riverine/freshwater fisheries from your region.
Riverine fisheries are special. They not only support vulnerable communities and contribute to food sovereignty of far-flung places, but are the true ambassadors of healthy and living rivers.
Happy World Fisheries Day (belated!)
(All pictures by Author)
Below: Boats in the Bhagirathi, fed by water diverted by Farakka Barrage, West Bengal
Below: Lone Ilish (Hilsa) caught, which was hurriedly taken over by the agent. The fisherfolk gets about 100 Rs while the agent will sell it for about 400 Rs. Farakka Barrage has single handedly destroyed Hilsa fisheries in the Ganga and Padma in West Bengal
Below: Kadar tribesman fishing in the Chalakudy River in Kerala Western Ghats, just downstream the site of the proposed 163 MW Athirapilly Hydropower Project. Challakudy is an extremely fish rich river and its last flowing refuge will be destroyed by the HEP
Although much-ravaged, riverine fisheries and fishing communities are still thriving at many places across the country. The rivers or fisher-folks or the fish receive no special attention or protection. On the contrary dam projects do not even consider their impacts on fisheries, nor any compensation for the affected families.
Their is a need to get together to acknowledge, understand and conserve the beautiful riverine fisheries of India…Let us hope we stand up to the challenge.
(All photos by author)
Some of SANDRP’s work on Riverine Fisheries and Impacts of Dams: