Every year, November 21 is celebrated as World Fisheries day across the world. SANDRP with the help of selective media report, presents an overview of key developments and problems affecting fisheries and fisher folks in India and South Asia.
Study Dams, Climate Change threat to fish in Himalayan Rivers According to the scientists, the fish living in cold water would shift to higher reaches of the river in the summer so that they can survive in their comfort zone as the environment undergoes change because of Global warming.
Another research paper presented by Ms Aashna Sharma, Senior Research Fellow of WII finds, due to the construction of dams on almost all the Himalayan rivers, “fresh water fish species are unable to shift in the upper area during summer, because of which these water creatures are unable to save themselves in the summer season.” https://hillpost.in/2019/08/dams-climate-change-a-threat-to-snow-trout-fish-in-himalayan-rivers/112348/ (23 Aug. 2019)
Uttrakhand: Pancheshwar Dam Doom for biodiversity Ecological concerns have always been sacrificed at the altar of development. The same will be the case of the Pancheshwar region, which is home to a variety of species writes Neeraj Mahar. A study by Nepali scientists documented 72 fish species, including the endangered golden mahseer from River Mahakali. River flows, the first to be destroyed by the dams, are the mainstay for freshwater fish and riverine ecosystems. https://www.dailypioneer.com/2019/columnists/dam-for-nations–doom-for-diversity.html (27 July 2019)
Hydro Power Plants Have Sucked Life Out of Yamuna Environmentalists are worried that Lakhwar and Vyasi projects will further damage the little untouched part of Yamuna and perish the aquatic life and biodiversity of the watercourse. The river’s flow is a critical factor in ensuring that it remains free of pollution — a fact, flagged by an NGT-appointed committee last year. But the river’s health is also critical in Delhi’s relationship with its water. As the city has grown, so has its demand for water, and with groundwater resources dwindling, Delhi’s hopes now rest in recharging the river’s floodplains.
“In the quest for power generation, they have sucked every single drop of water (from the river). There is no life left in Yamuna beyond Dak Pathar,” says Manoj Misra, a river expert and former IFS officer. “The Yamuna was known for its Mahseer fish, but how do you expect any biodiversity or species to survive in the absence of water.” https://www.news18.com/news/india/death-of-a-river-how-hydro-power-plants-have-sucked-the-life-out-of-yamuna-the-lifeline-of-delhi-2242997.html (24 July 2019)
Media reports on traditional Maun Mela (Fishing Fair) held on June 29, 2019 in Aglar-Yamuna river, Dehradun.
Himachal Pradesh NGT directs HPPCB to look into complaint on absence of water flow downstream hydro projects While state government is making efforts to harness the hydro-power potential of rivers in the state, projects already functioning are now facing allegations of not releasing required level of water downstream thus posing threat to aquatic life. Based on a complaint, NGT on July 4 has directed the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board (HPPCB) to look into the matter and take appropriate action in accordance with law & furnish a report in the matter within one month. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/ngt-directs-hppcb-to-act-against-river-water-pollution/articleshow/70120668.cms (8 July 2019)
Fishing ban till July 31 Ban on fishing in Himachal reservoirs till July 31. Fisher-folks to get Rs 3000 per month for the closure compensation. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/fishing-ban-till-july-31/781490.html (1 June 2019)
Jammu & Kashmir Dal Lake fisherfolks ignored in rehabilitation work Over 50,000 people live on the Dal Lake, including houseboat owners, vegetable growers, and fisherfolk. Tourism, agriculture, and fishing form the backbone of the economy on the lake, and these are the activities that are facing the heat.
In 2007, the Jammu and Kashmir govt began a Rs 416-crore project to depopulate the lake and rehabilitate these families at a site called Rakh-I-Arth Bemina on the outskirts of Srinagar. It was meant to be developed with infrastructure like housing, roads, water supply, electricity, drainage, sewerage and other community facilities for the displaced. The project was supposed to be completed in three years, but even till 2018, authorities managed to allot only 2,600 of the proposed 10,500 plots. These exclude the fisherfolk families that were rehabilitated to Habak. Most of them are now involved in casual labour or drive taxis, while some sold the land they were given and went back to live around the lake to continue doing what they did before. https://www.firstpost.com/india/dal-lake-in-distress-kashmirs-iconic-attraction-is-facing-a-slow-death-by-sewage-as-politicians-look-the-other-way-6143141.html (25 Feb. 2019)
119 years later, Danish fish returns to Kashmir In a first in India, Jammu and Kashmir state imported genetically modified Rainbow Trout Seed from Denmark after 119 years to boost annual production from 500 to 5000 tonnes over the next five years.
Principal Secretary Animal, Sheep and Fisheries Department Dr Asghar Hassan Samoon shared the information after inaugurating the hatchery meant for the rearing of genetically improved Rainbow Trout Fish on Jan. 19, at Beerwah Budgam. A consignment of 2.25 lakh Eyed Ova Rainbow Trout imported from Billud in Denmark River Roheamger were put in for production of broodstock in the state, he said. https://kashmirlife.net/119-years-later-danish-fish-returns-to-kashmir-198700/ (19 Jan. 2019)
NORTH EAST INDIA
Report Climate change, dams, over-fishing take toll on Himalayan Mahseer Assam’s oldest angling group Bhorelli Angling and Conservation Association has come up with hatchery in Eco Camp Nameri for breeding and conservation of Mahseer. The sport the Mahseer offers was aptly put into words by H S Thomas in his book Rod in India, where he says, ‘pound for pound the Mahseer is a fish superior in sporting qualities even to the lordly salmons’. The Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora) is a speciality of this region. In Assam, the snow fed Jia Bhoroli, a tributary of the Brahmaputra that originates in Arunachal and the Manas River are the last bastions of this game fish. The Siang is joined by many tributaries above Pasighat in Arunachal offer excellent angling sites and promises a true sport for the angler. So does the Subansiri – a major tributary of the Brahmaputra that provides a home for the game fish. Listed as endangered in the IUCN Red Data List Status, the fish could be found in abundance till the 1970s in the Manas and the Karnamakura rivers.
– In 2012s, the Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) authorities started preliminary study of fresh water ecology in RMNP to document list of fish species present and found an incredible diversity of freshwater fishes that included the Golden Mahseer and the Copper Mahseer.
– The foremost threat to fishes in the region comes from construction of mega projects. Dams pose colossal threat to aquatic biodiversity, mainly due to alteration of water flow regime and blocking of spawning route for migratory fish species. The fate of the Golden Mahseer – fast declining in the Subansiri due to indiscriminate fishing – now hangs in balance with a series of hydroelectric power projects.
– Dr A G K Menon, of the Zoological Survey of India who investigated the decline of fish fauna in the country under a project ‘Conservation of Freshwater Fishes of India’ spanned from 1991-93, warned that 59 species of freshwater fishes were potentially endangered, vulnerable or rare. Of the 59 species, 25 came under the endangered category that included the Indian trout (Raiamas bola), the Copper Mahseer, the Deccan Mahseer, Golden Mahseer and so on. His studies found out that apart from habitat destruction, the introduction of alien species have spelt doom to indigenous fish. Introduction of the common English carp has led to a steady decline in the four species of snow trout. Introduction of the common carp has made the indigenous fish, Osteobrahma belgangeri extinct in the Loktak Lake in Manipur. https://nenow.in/environment/climate-change-dams-over-fishing-take-toll-on-himalayan-mahseer.html (8 May 2019)
Manipur Ithai barrage severely affected fish diversity, fishermen community The report also describes how Loktak Development Authority have been aggravating fisher community problems. With the construction of the Ithai Barrage, there have been certain changes in the climatic condition and socio-economic life of the people and environment of Manipur. Most importantly, indigenous fish varieties of Loktak Lake have vanished in last two to three decades following the construction of the Ithai Barrage across the Manipur river. KH Deven, a local NGO worker of Loktak, explained, “Fish prefer shallow areas for breeding but the constant high level of water in Loktak for the functioning of the barrage has destroyed their breeding habitats.”
Last year, Manipur governor Najma Heptulla claimed, “As many as 16 species of indigenous fishes are believed to have become extinct due to the blocking of water by the Ithai barrage.” Heptulla was speaking at a closing function of the 63rd Wildlife Week celebration organised by the Manipur state forest and environment department.
Catching fish has been the main source of livelihood of people of Thanga and its surrounding villages. “In the past, some 70-80 years ago fish was found in abundance in Loktak Lake. The catch was so abundant that we (fishing community) had to develop the skills and process of preserving fish for future uses by drying in the sun and smoking in the fire and further keep dry fish over long periods for sale,” said Henthyoi, a resident of Thanga village and a retired fisherwoman. https://www.eastmojo.com/in-depth/2019/10/26/manipur-loktak-lake-gasping-for-breath-due-to-haphazard-planning (26 Oct. 2019)
Assam NPSSFW (INLAND) PR: Assam Fisheries Development Corporation (AFDC) organised a brainstorming workshop on 11-12 October, 2019 at Guwahati, to assess the possibilities of rejuvenation of 95 beels and work out an action plan. The workshop was inaugurated by Sri Ramakanta Deuri, MLA & Chairman of AFDC. It was attended by eminent experts and community representatives.
– Assam is a state of wetlands. Wetlands popularly called beels in Assam are 3,513 in number and together they cover 1012.25 Sq. Km. Source of livelihood for thousands of fisher people, these gifts of nature have irreplaceable role in maintaining ecological balance with flora and fauna, water supply, aquifer recharge, flood abatement and regulating climate impact. Besides these, the beels of Assam are associated with distinct cultural service, both religious and seasonal.
– The beels of Assam are in mortal danger. Their connection with rivers or streams are blocked, catchment and drainage areas are encroached, siltation and weed infestation, dumping of solid waste and release of waste water into the wetlands have resulted in steady decline of fish stock. Diminishing catch, in its turn, are driving the fishers away. Powerless to protect the natural resource base of their livelihood the poor fishers are being compelled to migrate out to different other sectors in distant places.
Fishing restrictions only on papers As per the directives under the Assam Fishery Rules, 1953, there are prohibitions over use of Borjal/Mahajal or Fasijal or any type of nets with meshes less than seven cm/14 cm during breeding season. Moreover, there is prohibition on catching of brood fish of certain species in any fishery. There is also prohibition of catching and killing by any method, of fish for any purpose including consumption and selling of undersized fish of certain species during this period. These are aimed at ensuing natural breeding, propagation and growth of fish in all fisheries and natural water bodies. However, all these remain on paper and rampant fishing goes on the State.
– But on the contrary, the neighbouring country of Bangladesh has come up with strict measures to ensure breeding of fish. Bangladesh has banned fishing off its coast for 65 days from May 20 till July 23 to try and boost depleted fish stocks. During this period all types of fishing vessels would be covered by the ban and coast guards have been specifically directed to enforce it along Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh is known for its fish exports, especially the king of all fishes – the majestic Hilsa. https://nenow.in/neighbour/assam-fishing-restrictions-only-on-papers-bangladesh-imposes-stringent-ban.html (21 May 2019)
Hundreds fish in Indian lake to celebrate harvest Hundreds of villagers take part in a community fishing event in Goroimari lake, Panbari to celebrate a traditional harvest festival called Uruka. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/videos/news/hundreds-fish-in-indian-lake-to-celebrate-harvest.html (16 Jan. 2019)
Locals catch fish weighing 73-kg in Barpeta Huge seemingly Garua fish caught from Brahmaputra River in Barpeta district’s Senimari. It reportedly weighed 73 kg & was sold at Rs 500 per kg. https://www.pratidintime.com/watch-what-a-huge-fish-caught-in-barpeta/ (28 March 2019)
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– Similarly, in July 2017, a giant catfish, probably the biggest catfish ever found in Himalayan rivers, weighing ~125kg was caught in Ramganga river near Corbett national park in Uttarakhand. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/what-s-for-dinner-in-this-uttarakhand-village-a-125kg-monster-catfish/story-fFBKcSU2Vq7FdCxipMfl3K.html (26 July 2019)
Odisha Reservoir Fishery Policy to augment production The State Govt will introduce a new reservoir fishery policy. As per the draft policy, fishing rights of all reservoirs above 10 hectare Mean Water Spread Area (MWSA) will be vested with Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (ARD) Department. Fishing rights of reservoirs up to 10 ha will be transferred to respective gram panchayats for leasing them out to primary fishermen cooperative societies (PFCS). While water bodies having MWSA of 10 hectare to 1000 hectare will be known as minor reservoir, those of 1001 hectare to 5000 hectare will be termed medium and the big ones with an area of over 5,000 hectare will be categorised as large reservoir.
– Preferences will be given to displaced persons/project affected persons to be members of PFCS. A lease value of Rs 60 per ha per year will be charged to PFCSs/SHGs for fishing in minor reservoirs and Rs 240 per ha as seed cost. The lease value will be Rs 20 per ha for medium and Rs 10 for large reservoir. There will be ban on fishing in selected areas from June 15 to Aug 31 every year for fish breeding. The new policy will replace the State Reservoir Policy of 2012. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2018/dec/13/reservoir-fishery-policy-to-augment-production-1910920.html (12Dec.2018)
Hilsa catch in Odisha has dwindled this year According to a recent study, between 2002 and 2015, Hilsa catch went up by 13 per cent although the number of boats engaged in fishing increased by 25 per cent. Although the yield was progressively growing down over the years in Odisha, the price has shot up making the fish go beyond the reach of the common man’s dining table. According to an official of Bahabalapur fishing centre, Hilsa yielded about 388 tonne in the district last year while the yield stood at 150 MT this year. https://www.orissapost.com/fishermen-worry-as-hilsa-export-nosedives/ (25 Sept. 2019)
Cyclone Fani Creates New Mouths on Chilika Lake The lake earlier had two mouths. The two more that have opened up could make the lake water more saline, thus affecting marine life. Sibaprasad Parida, an expert who contributed to the dolphin and bird census in Chilika, believes that the new mouths could change the lake’s fish population for the better. “However, there may be a decline in fresh water fish. The marine life will improve, as fish migration can now take place from both sides.” https://thewire.in/environment/cyclone-fani-creates-four-new-mouths-on-chilika-lake (15 May 2019)
Jharkhand DMF PR 23 Dec 2018 Fishing Communities in Jharkhand Resolve to Get Organised in Union and Build Up Formidable Resistance to Save Water, Save Fish, Save Fisher People. Mighty Sone River is dying. Thousands of fishers dependent on it are now turned into destitutes moving around in search of livelihood. Sone’s waters are indiscriminately taken away for irrigation, industries and municipal use. Pollution from industries, urban agglomerations and agricultural runoff kills its water life including fish. Dams and barrages have further reduced the stock of fish by blocking their natural movement.
West Bengal Laws flouted, Hilsa dies There are laws but no implementation. The West Bengal govt has notified a definite time period banning the fishing of juvenile Hilsa (jatka) to save the state’s favourite fish from extinction. But fishers do not obey the prohibition either in rivers or the sea. As a result, the production of Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) in West Bengal is rapidly declining. A mature Hilsa weighs between 700 grams and a kilogramme.
– From the estuary of the Ganga to deep in the Bay of Bengal, an estimated 14,000 trawlers are hovering in the migratory path of the Hilsa as the fish approaches the river to spawn, and on its way out. In spite of the ban on nets with mesh holes less than 90 mm in diameter, such nets are used most of the time. Some nets are over a kilometre long. A very large number of juvenile Hilsa are caught.
– In order to increase the yield and production of Hilsa and other fish, the State Fisheries Department issues notifications every year to control fishing. According to these, from April 15 to May 31, fishing is prohibited in the sea and adjoining areas. Moreover, a special ban is imposed specifically for the preservation of the Hilsa. From September 15 to October 24, before and after five days of the full moon, catching any type of Hilsa is prohibited. This system was initiated for the undisturbed breeding of Hilsa. Besides fishing, selling, transporting and hoarding of Hilsa less than 23 cm long is prohibited. Bottom trawling is prohibited up to 12 nautical miles from the coastline.
– Apart from overfishing, a big problem for the migrating Hilsa is siltation at the mouth of the Ganga. This sea fish needs a clean and deep channel so that it can move upriver and spawn. But now there is no deep channel in the mouth of the Ganga except the one kept open by constant dredging, for the shipping to and from Kolkata port.
– Asimkumar Nath, a fisheries expert in Sidho Kanhu Birsa University of West Bengal, has found another effect of this forced change in the life cycle of the Hilsa. Due to siltation, many fish find their way back to the sea blocked. Studies that include tagging some Hilsa have shown that some have remained in the Ganga and its tributaries for the last several years. He said some such “resident Hilsa” have been found as far upstream as Farakka, over 350 km from the mouth of the Ganga. Nath is confident that even if 20% of the Hilsa living and breeding in the rivers can be saved from overfishing, there will be no shortage of the fish in West Bengal.
– The West Bengal govt has new plans to protect the fish. Fisheries Minister Sinha said his department has identified three spawning areas that will be declared sanctuaries. “Special monitoring will be arranged in Raichak-Godakhali, Tribeni-Balagarh and Lalbag-Farakka,” he said. “Hilsa lays eggs in those places. Hilsa Research centres will also be built there.”
– The minister said scientists are trying to breed Hilsa in ponds. “The Hilsa Conservation and Research Centre in Diamond Harbour will move that work forward. Nofima, a Norwegian institute for food, fisheries and aquaculture research, will work with HCRC. Nofima has been working on salmon production for 45 years and they have expertise in aquaculture. Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute is also a partner in this project. Six water bodies have been identified in Falta near Raichak and East Kolkata Wetland to conduct the research. Nath says, “There is no need to spend a huge amount of money to artificially breed Hilsa in ponds, if the juvenile [fish] are saved by increasing surveillance.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/11/27/laws-flouted-hilsa-dies-in-west-bengal/ (27 Nov. 2018)
Hilsa changes route, migrates to Bangladesh waters The king of fishes is changing its migration route. Faced with a mesh of nets at the mouth of the Hooghly and a highly silted riverbed, shoals of hilsa are taking flight to Bangladesh. That is one of the main reasons why the hilsa catch in Bengal’s rivers is drastically declining, pushing up prices, say experts. In 2002-03, the total hilsa catch in the Hooghly was 62,600 tonnes. Within a decade and a half (2017-18), that came down to 27,539 tonnes — a sheer drop of 56%. During the same period, the catch in Bangladesh increased from 1,99,032 T to 5,17,000 T — a rise of 160%.
“The hilsa stock that congregate in north Bay of Bengal mainly takes three routes for their upstream journey during the spawning season: the Hooghly estuary, the Meghna in Bangladesh and the Irrawaddy in Myanmar. But, due to high siltation and virtually unrestricted fishing in the Hooghly, the fish has been changing its migration route and is moving up mostly through the Meghna,” says Utpal Bhaumik, retired divisional head of Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/hilsa-changes-route-swims-bangla-waters/articleshow/71250754.cms (23 Sept. 2019)
Hilsa population under Durga pooja stress A recent study found out that first spawners (or adults who spawn for the first time) have a 75% probability of being targeted by the fishing industry. “The situation in Kolkata has gotten worse, with trawlers standing right at the river mouth, waiting to catch juveniles on their way to the ocean,” Karnad adds.
– Based on the available data, computing models and the life cycles of hilsa, experts have concluded that 25,440 tons per year is the maximum sustainable yield. Beyond this, the fish will not have time to breed, grow and rejuvenate the population. While more than 13,000 tonnes caught in 2018, hilsa catch was as high as 57,991 tonnes in 2017 in West Bengal alone. With state government struggling to enforcement regulations, hilsa faces a bleak future. It is estimated that there are between 3,571 and 3,987 boats. “It can be inferred that hilsa fishery in the BoB (Bay of Bengal) is being unsustainably exploited,” says a study “Present Status of the Sustainable Fishing Limits for Hilsa Shad in the northern Bay of Bengal, India”.
– Of the 20,000 tonnes of hilsa caught in India in 2018, 13,827 tonnes or nearly 70% was caught in West Bengal, according to data from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). In West Bengal, hilsa constitutes about 9% of all fish caught in the state. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2019-10-04-hilsa-population-under-durga-pujo-stress (4 Oct. 2019)
18.5kg fish caught from the Ganges A jumbo Bhetki fish weighing 18.5 kg was caught from the Ganges in Howrah district’s Uluberia fetching a whopping price of Rs 12,000. https://www.hindustantimes.com/it-s-viral/18-5kg-fish-caught-from-the-ganges-was-sold-for-this-much/story-2rTVQWdEKmfE2JohKL8koK.html (20 Nov. 2019)
Op-Ed Human cost of Hilsa conservation Fantastic and timely piece on the cost of Hilsa conservation and who pays it. These are among many of the human costs that are being paid by some for the delicious Hilsa to keep coming to our plates, while some others are benefiting from it. It must be asked whether our conservation activities are serving the needs of the marginalised fisherfolk or the big businesses and affluent customers. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/12/17/opinion-the-human-cost-of-hilsa-conservation/ (17 Dec. 2018)
Satellite maps massive loss of EKW lands A substantial portion of sewage farms and agricultural land in the East Kolkata Wetlands has been converted into residential land, a committee constituted by the NGT has submitted in its report.
– Environmentalist Subhas Datta, whose petition to the NGT in April 2019 led to the formation of the committee, said the report was cause for “extreme alarm” and the developments could sound the death knell for Kolkata as EKW naturally treated the city’s sewage and produced a significant portion of fish and vegetables consumed in Kolkata. “Not only the 1lakh people, who live off the EKW, but the entire city of Kolkata is dependent on it. There has been no attempt to restore even a single encroached bheri despite massive conversion over the years. The BMC was fined Rs 10 lakh for not adhering to orders on containing the spill at Mollar Bheri. But it has done nothing and faces another penalty of Rs 15 lakh,” Datta said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/sat-maps-show-massive-loss-of-east-kolkata-wetlands/articleshow/71714072.cms (23 Oct. 2019)
Mission Statement of Small Scale Fish Workers’ Consolidation DMF Mission statement on Riverine fisher people. Fisheries resources are under tremendous pressure. Indiscriminate encroachments, pollution and consumptive use of water are killing our coastal and inland waters and with that the fish resources they harbour. Over and destructive fishing by mechanised boats and trawlers have made the near shore waters of India’s 8,000 km long coastline barren of fish. https://dc.icsf.net/en/component/dcnews/articledetail/13601.html (11 April 2019)
DMF PR 26 Dec 2018 Save Bhandardaha Bill Campaign; Demands Restoration of Bhandardaha Bill; Implores Concerned Citizens to Unite with Fisher People. About 400 to 500 years ago Bhagirathi River flowed through Bhandardaha. In course of time with shifting of the course of river large water bodies like Bhandardaha were created in the Bhagirathi-Padma-Jalangi basin. National Fishworkers’ Forum is disappointed that they were demanding separate ministry for fisherfolks, but what budget has announced is only a separate department. https://dc.icsf.net/en/component/dcnews/articledetail/13170.html
DMF PR 7 Feb 2019: Fishing Communities Mobilise Civil Society to Restore Buriganga River. Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum (DMF) & Chakdaha Bignyan O Sanskritik Sangstha Organise Meeting and Padayatra. Buriganga is a water body created by an old course of river Ganga. Starting from the Mukundanagar Ghat (landing stage) and ending at Raninagar Ghat, both on the river Ganga, this more than 100 years old water body stretches about 6.5 km. It is told that once upon a time the king of Jessore used to come to Chakdaha for trade through this channel.
DMF PR 19 March 2019: In a Press Conference the National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (I) demanded that the small and traditional fishing communities should have inalienable right over water bodies. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/2540240726003585?__tn__=K-R
DMF PR 04 April 2019 NGT Asks Govt of India to Submit Report on Its Efforts to Contain Pollution from Bangladesh NGT, in its order of 2 April 2019, has observed “that discharge of untreated effluents from Bangladesh is also one of the major cause of the pollution of River Churni and it will have to be taken care by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, if at all.” Further, NGT has directed the West Bengal State Government “to address the matter to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change shall pursue the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and take necessary steps in this regard to help the West Bengal Government to make the State pollution free in this regard. NGT has also directed the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India to submit a report in the matter. http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/content/462775/order-of-the-national-green-tribunal-regarding-churni-river-pollution-due-to-discharge-of-untreated-effluents-west-bengal-02042019/ (2 April 2019)
DMF PR: 22 Oct 2019: After 2 Years of Submission of Appeals made by 10 Gram Panchayats WBPCB Comes Up with A Plan to Rejuvenate River Vidyadhari. Pledges to Hold Meeting with the Fishing Communities and Panchayet Representatives.
Maharashtra Uran fishermen move HC to save mangroves from construction Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and adjoining towns continue to destroy mangroves, wetlands, forests and rivers. Blaming govt agencies for destroying protected mangrove forests by carrying out construction activities, fishermen from Uran in Navi Mumbai have moved the Bombay HC over the “violation of Coastal Zone Regulation (CRZ) Notification, 2011”.
The petitioners – environmentalist Nandkumar Pawar and fishing group Hanuman Koliwada Macchimar Samiti – alleged that City Industrial Development Corporation, the planning agency for Navi Mumbai, has cut off intertidal water channels to mangrove forests. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/uran-fishermen-move-hc-to-save-mangroves-from-construction/story-Lz9hNr31XPZoVTKUUjLZNP.html (22 Nov. 2018)
Fishermen fear solar project at Ujani lake will affect livelihoods The fisherman are opposing the plan to set up floating solar project on Ujani lake as their livelihood is likely to be affected. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/fishermen-fear-solar-project-at-ujani-lake-will-affect-livelihood/articleshow/68070358.cms (20 Feb.2019)
MoEF wants to disband the protector of ecologically-sensitive Dahanu Interestingly, this is the second attempt by the environment ministry to disband the Dahanu Authority. In 2002, the ministry had lost a case in Supreme Court when the latter passed an order directing for the continuation of the DTEPA. The latest move by the environment ministry is interesting since it comes just ahead of the Maharashtra legislative assembly elections on October 21.
– Now, to protest against the environment ministry’s move, community-based organisations representing farmers, fisherfolk and tribal people have come forward protesting the move of the environment ministry to scrap the Dahanu authority.
– Predominantly a rural region and known for its forest cover and scattered tribal communities, Dahanu’s landscape includes a pristine coastline, meandering estuaries and large areas under agriculture and horticulture. Famous for its chiku fruit, Dahanu’s horticultural economy also includes coconuts and mangoes to the surrounding areas. Besides the forest-dependent tribals, it is also home to a large fishing community living along its 35-kilometre long coastline. https://scroll.in/article/940444/indian-government-wants-to-disband-the-protector-of-ecologically-sensitive-dahanu (15 Oct. 2019)
Madhya Pradesh मछुआरो की आजीविका पर संकट l हमारा धंधा जुऐ और सटटे जेसा हो गया है,जिस दिन दाव लग जाये उस दिन दिवाली Narmada river fisherflok’s facing severe livelihood crisis due to dam and pollution in the river.
– पानी ज्यादा होने से कम हुई मछलिया और प्रजातिया —- नर्मदा नदी में पानी ज्यादा होने के कारण मछलिया कम हो गई हे,राधेश्याम ने बताया की इसके दो कारण हे,पहला – मछलिया उथले और बहते पानी में रहना पसंद करती हे,नम्बर दो- मछलिया गंदे पानी में उपर नही आती हे वह नीचे की सतह पर रहती हे | पहले नर्मदा नदी में लगभग 40 से 50 प्रजाति की मछलिया होती थी,अब मुश्किल से 4 से 5 प्रकार की मछलिया पकड में आ रही हे,उसमे भी पसंदीदा पारन,बाम और गेगरे जेसे मछलिया दिखाई नही पड रही |
– मछलिया उपर की और चली गई – राधेश्याम के पुत्र जितेन्द्र ने बताया की मछलिया बहते पानी में प्रजनन करती हे, अंजड,बडवानी से लगाकर भादल तक नर्मदा का पानी ठहरा हुआ हे यानी पानी बह नही रहा इसके चलते भी मछलिया कम हो गई हे |
– महंगा हो गया मछली पकड़ना – राधेश्याम ने बताया की पहले कम पानी था तो चप्पू से चलाने वाली नाव से काम चल जाता था,लेकिन अब पानी ज्यादा हो गया हे,जोखीम बढ़ गया हे,बिना इंजन वाली नाव से आने में डर लगता हे,रोज 100 रूपये का डीजल लगता हे,एक मछली की जाल 20 हजार के आस पास पडती हे,उस जाल में 500 रूपये किलो की 30 किलो जाल और 200 रूपये किलो की 15 किलो रस्सी लगती हे,तब जाकर नदी के एक किनारे से दुसरे किनारे तक जाल पंहुचता हे,और कभी कभी हमारे ओजार(जाल) का नुकसान भी हो जाता हे,झाड़ियो में अटक कर फट जाता हे | http://azadhindustanlive.com/?p=4594 (5 Nov. 2019)
Gujarat Dammed and mined, Narmada River can no longer support her people “The estuary of Narmada is extremely productive, particularly for Hilsa, but right now the hilsa fisheries has taken a hit, as nearly 60% of its production is down because there is no water is available there,” said river expert Parineeta Dandekar, of SANDRP. “Hilsa needs a mix of saline and fresh water for breeding. Because we are holding all the water of river, no fresh water is coming down and fish can’t go up.” The estuary is downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
– Likewise, the famous Mahseer is also disappearing from many parts of Narmada. At Rajghat Kukra village, at the district border between Dhar and Badwani in Madhya Pradesh, 50-year-old Rajaram said that now he drives an auto-rickshaw to earn his living instead of fishing.
– “Hundreds of families were dependent on fishing here, but we hardly get any fish in the river now. It’s not more than one or two kg in a day. That isn’t sufficient to support a family,” said Rajaram. “So everyone is looking for other means of livelihood.”
– India is ranked second in inland fish production. More than 10 million people depend on sources like rivers, wetlands and ponds, and for the rural poor, a free flowing river is a lifeline. Experts say if small fishermen quit fishing, it also threatens the life of the river. “River fisherfolk are the best mascots of the health of the river because their livelihood is actually is related to how healthy is river is,” said Dandekar. https://india.mongabay.com/2019/09/dammed-and-mined-narmada-river-can-no-longer-support-her-people/ (2 Sept. 2019)
Multitudes dispossessed by ‘Gujarat model’ Beyond Sardar Sarovar, the once mighty Narmada is now a seasonal drain that carries sewage and industrial effluents. At the mouth of the river in Gujarat, because of lower freshwater pressure on account of the dam, the sea water has ingressed several km inland, rendering vast fertile lands saline. With some 10,000 hectares of agricultural land having been destroyed, the farmers of the area are devastated. Just in Bharuch, a fishing community of around 30,000 has lost its livelihood. The estuary’s once-thriving population of the coveted Hilsa fish is in danger due to the ingress. In response, the Gujarat govt has built a barrage which, paradoxically will only end up destroying the breeding grounds of the Hilsa.
The Sardar Sarovar was promised as a new lease of life for farmers across Gujarat. Even the Supreme Court, in allowing the project to go ahead in a 2000 verdict, relied pivotally on the argument that there was no other way to provide water to the dry areas of Gujarat. Farmers as far as Kutch were promised Narmada waters. They are still waiting as the canals leading to their agricultural lands have not been built as yet. Instead, the situation has worsened. As Gujarat neglected its own water resources and the changing climate, farmers, fishermen and herders have begun leaving, signalling the beginnings of a climate refugee crisis. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-multitudes-dispossessed-by-the-gujarat-model/article29451899.ece (19 Sept. 2019)
Declining Hilsa catch – According to a study by scientists of Kolkata-based Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, the annual production of fishes from the estuary reduced from 15,889 tonne in 2006-07 to just 1,618 tonne in 2014-15. During the same period, Hilsa catch reduced from 5,180 tonne (2006-07) to 419 tonne in 2014-15.
– Fishermen cite low river flow coupled with salinity ingress, and industrial effluents as the main reasons for the disappearing catch. The annual flow in Narmada, which was 23 MAF (million acre feet) in 1990, has reduced drastically. Currently, only 600 cusecs of water is released from the Sardar Sarovar dam. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/once-a-hilsa-trove-this-gujarat-village-now-struggles-to-find-catch/ (7 June 2019)
Narmada downstream stretch now a thin stream The dry riverbed of Narmada, the largest west-flowing river of the country, has turned into a parking lot for cars carrying pilgrims who frequent Chandod in Gujarat’s Vadodara district to pay homage to the dead. With little water being released from Sardar Sarovar dam built upstream, the perennial river that once had an expanse of 300 m is now reduced to a 20-feet stream. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-narmada-downstream-stretch-now-a-thin-stream-may-hit-local-livelihoods-5767418/ (6 June 2019)
Appeal written with blood to save Narmada fish Fishing in the Narmada estuary has been the backbone of the coastal district of Bharuch in Gujarat. With Hilsa, prawns, Mahaseer and more than 80 other varieties of fish, the yield used to be as high as 10,000-15,000 tonnes a year, with the annual revenue of Rs 500 crore.
The first blow came with the building of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which cut down the annual yield drastically to about 4,000 tonnes and even less. The area is now home to very few varieties of fish and that too in steadily dwindling quantity. https://www.facebook.com/mahendra.machhi.754/posts/1079995725543096
People of Bharuch city launched a campaign to save Narmada River, which was facing a slow death in its downstream stretch due to seawater ingress, untreated sewage, industrial effluents and solid waste pollution.
Men, women and children belonging to several families held a 15-minute protest at 16 places in Bharuch city to wake up the state government with regard to serious condition of Narmada River. Vijay Shah, member of Maa Reva Nirmal Pravah Samiti, said, “Seawater has already caused irreparable damage to our fertile lands and the river ecosystem. We will continue to hold similar programmes in future too.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/bharuch-citizens-ask-govt-to-save-narmada/articleshow/69696624.cms (8 June 2019)
This tragedy of Narmada Valley is a warning for the coming time how destruction is done in the name of development and the building of development on the grave of poor, workers, tribal, farmers, Dalit, dalit. We have learnt to struggle. But every citizen of the country must watch this scene once. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2470489303239814&set=pcb.2470489463239798&type=3&theater
Fish exports set to dive by 20% due to deficient rain Interesting to note how even marine fish catch and export from Gujarat is affected due to lower rains and river flows to sea. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/fish-exports-from-gujarat-set-to-dive-by-20-due-to-deficient-rain/articleshow/67329929.cms (1Jan 2019)
Goa Sattari fish species under threat due to check dams Years after the water resources department completed the construction of a chain of check dams called ‘vasant bandharas’ on the Mhadei to meet the state’s water needs during summer months, the ecological fallouts of these well-meaning structures are coming to light. Studies are now showing that damming of the river is affecting breeding of various indigenous fish, including shellfish, many varieties of which are no longer easily available in markets. No EIAs were done of the check dams. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/sattari-fish-species-under-threat-due-to-check-dams/articleshow/68786548.cms (9 April 2019)
Monsoon trawl ban from June 1 The annual monsoon trawling ban in Goa will come into effect from June 1. The ban will go on for 61 days, ending on July 31. The seasonal fishing holiday is meant to facilitate breeding of fish during the season. The State Fisheries Department has issued an order banning trawling through mechanised boats during the period. However, the registered motorised canoes using gill nets have been exempted.
Nearly 1,500 trawlers in the coastal State would be anchored till July 31 as the annual trawling ban will be implemented along the western coast in Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka. A notification from the State asserts that the government of Goa prohibits fishing by vessels fitted with mechanical means of propulsion and by means of trawl-net and purse-seine net. The fishing ban in Goa has been enforced since 1981. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/monsoon-trawl-ban-in-goa-from-june-1/article27385210.ece (1 June 2019)
Telangana 3rd largeset state in water spread, but 6th in fish production Telangana has the country’s third largest water spread with 5.73 lakh sq km coverage in various water bodies including reservoirs but with 3.5 lakh tonnes of fish produced in 2018, it is the sixth largest in terms of fish production. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2019/jan/11/ts-has-third-largest-water-spread-but-sixth-in-fish-production-1923545.html (11 Jan. 2019)
Record fish catch The state recorded fish production of about 2.94 lakh tonnes during 2018-19, registering an increase of about 31,950 tonnes compared to 2017-18. The production touched about 40,000 tonnes per month in February and March this year, which is expected to continue in April and May resulting in a bountiful catch this year as well.
As per official estimates, Nalgonda district recorded the highest fish production in the State with 19,921 tonnes, followed by Suryapet with 18,485 tonnes and Mahabubabad with 17,063 tonnes. Prawn cultivation too received good returns, registering production of 9,990 tonnes during 2018-19 as against 7,778 tonnes in 2017-18. Telangana has nearly 25,000 reservoirs and tanks with a water spread of 5.73 lakh sq km. Fish production increased from an estimated 1.93 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 to 2.94 lakh tonnes in 2018-19, catapulting the State to secure a slot among the top five inland fish producing States in the country. https://telanganatoday.com/telangana-bags-a-big-catch (30 April 2019)
Inland fisheries production tops 31 tones Telangana achieved another milestone in the inland fisheries sector as the production crossed three lakh tonnes for the first time during 2018-19. It is about 37,000 tonnes more than the last fiscal’s fish production. Further, the fish production is said to have already gone past 70,000 tonnes since April during 2019-20. Officials said due to decreasing water levels in reservoirs, the fishermen were able to ensure a good catch during summer. About 3.7 lakh fishermen are getting direct employment and another 27 lakh fishermen are receiving indirect employment. https://telanganatoday.com/inland-fisheries-production-tops-3l-tonnes-in-telangana (8 June 2019)
Fish seedlings released in various water bodies Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav has released fish seedlings into Koil Sagar of Kaleshwaram project and another minister Indrakaran Reddy released them into Swarna project. Speaking on the occasion, the ministers said that the fish seedlings will be released in all the water bodies across the state in a fortnight. With the heavy inflow in the water bodies, the government has decided to release the fish seedlings and around 24,953 water bodies were identified to release the fish seedlings worth Rs 52 crore. Meanwhile, Panchayat Raj minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao released it in the Madikonda lake and Pedda Pendyala lake in Station Ghanpur. https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/fish-seedlings-released-in-various-water-bodies-in-telangana-555400 (16 Aug. 2019)
As per another news report on same issues authorities has released 1.50 lakh fish seedlings in Madikonda tank and 1.57 lakh seedlings in Pedda Pendyala. In a related development, Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav has released fish seedlings in Godavari river near Kaleshwaram in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that plans are afoot to release 50 lakh fish seedlings and 12 lakh prawn seed in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district as it likely to benefit 546 fishermen families living on the banks of Godavari river. https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/warangal-fish-seedlings-released-in-water-bodies–555490 (16 Aug. 2019)
KRISHNA River Andhra Pradesh Water quality of Krishna River deteriorating “The water quality of Krishna River has deteriorated with the polluting parameters doubling in the last decade. The pollution levels have increased phenomenally days after when the river is the focus of activity such as pushkarams and auspicious days when thousands take holy dip in it,” suggest the findings by Acharya Nagarjuna University scientists.
“The micro-crustaceans which are important feed for fish have come down drastically. As a result, the catch and the size of fish too have come down drastically, affecting the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen. “The Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary has now a small population of endangered Fishing Cats which prey on fish species. These mammals that are on the top of the food chain will perish if the fish population in the river keeps diminishing,” the scientist observed. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/water-quality-of-krishna-river-deteriorating-says-anu-review/article27474296.ece (5 June 2019)
CAUVERY Unprecedented low flow in Cauvery river at Kodagu IN KODAGU CAUVERY RIVER FLOW HAS COME DOWN TO RECORD LOW THIS YEAR. River Harangi too is drying up rapidly and there is a shortage of drinking water for the people and cattle.
– Last year, as the Cauvery had dried up completely, there was a scarcity of drinking water and the Mahshir fish in Kaveri Nisargadhama was released to Harangi river by the Fisheries Department. A similar situation had occurred in 2012 when River Cauvery almost dried up. The water which was stagnant in various locations in the course of the river was drawn using pump sets to cater to the needs of the people. The same method was followed by the water board last year. https://www.deccanherald.com/declining-water-level-in-river-cauvery-raises-serious-concern-723627.html (16 March 2019)
Fish in Cauvery face the risk of extinction A combination of factors, including extreme weather events stemming from climate change, habitat fragmentation and unregulated fishing, has placed many of the endemic fish species in the river Cauvery, which flows through Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, at the risk of extinction.
The fish at risk include the various mahseer species found in the river, including the giant hump-backed mahseer (Tor remadevii), which can grow up to 1.5 metres in length and weigh 55 kilograms. It is considered one of the 20 mega fish of the world. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/fish-in-cauvery-face-the-risk-of-extinction/story-gb0BdnxH2mZMHyQICwXwTK.html (2 March 2019)
Shrinking area and decreasing farm productivity in Kaveri delta Even the available water remains extremely contaminated causing irreparable damage to both soil and agriculture. Chemical factories located in the close vicinity of the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur have been identified as major polluters of the river. Mass fish mortality is reported from the delta region regularly. In the downstream region, tens of small- and medium-scale chemical industries continue to discharge their effluents through natural drains and engineered canals into the Kaveri. A water-guzzling coal-fired thermal power plant at Mettur is also contributing to the present sorry state of affairs in Kaveri. The plant has permission to draw 184 million litres per day (MLD) of river water. Coal ash from the plant is often dumped up on a hill, from where it finds its way back to the river. https://india.mongabay.com/2019/04/shrinking-area-and-decreasing-farm-productivity-in-kaveri-delta/ (1 April 2019)
The hump-backed mahseer is now ‘critically endangered’ The hump-backed mahseer—a large freshwater fish also called the tiger of the water and found only in the Cauvery river basin (including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers)—is now “Critically Endangered”: more threatened than the tiger is, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The fish is one of the 229 species added to the Red List last November; this update also reveals that the threat status of 12 other Indian species, including great hornbills, has increased. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/the-hump-backed-mahseer-critically-endangered/article26653559.ece (27 March 2019)
An SOS call for the ‘Tiger of Kaveri’ The IUCN has red-listed the hump-backed mahseer, believed to be endemic to river Kaveri, as critically endangered following a taxonomic evaluation and a scientific name, Tor Remadevii.
At Galibore fishing camp, near Bengaluru, the ratio of hump-backed to blue-finned mahseer was 1:4 in 1998, by 2012 this was 1:218, researchers say. Destructive fishing methods, building of dams that reduced the flow rates in the river, over-abstraction of water and pollution are cited as reasons for the dwindling numbers. https://india.mongabay.com/2019/06/sos-call-for-the-tiger-of-kaveri-hump-backed-mahseer/ (26 June 2019)
More interesting information on Mahseer and importance of understanding and conserving fresh water ecosystem here.
So, who really is concerned about the overall health of the freshwater ecosystem? How much do we understand about its delicate balance? Do we even notice when an important species goes extinct or becomes endangered? The answer is no. While a handful of scientists have worked on freshwater species, the reality is that many of our species remain poorly studied even from a basic taxonomical perspective.
This brings us to the story of an iconic fish. The Mahseer or ‘Mahi Sher’ derives its name from its strength and endurance. Hence it is considered the ’tiger’ among freshwater fish in India. This beautiful species belongs to the carp family and represents the apex fish species in many of our rivers. In terms of cultural importance and popularity in folklore, it is probably matched only by the Hilsa of Eastern India.
The Mahseer gained fame in India and abroad from pre-colonial times because of its strength and ability as one of the world’s top “fighting fish”, sought after by anglers. Its size and power are legendary, with documented records of fish that can grow to the length of a fully-grown man and weigh as much. The power of such a fish in fast owing waters is the stuff of legends, with everyone from Jim Corbett to a Viceroy of India and a Maharaja of Mysore documenting thrilling encounters with the Mahseer.
It is estimated that there are over 15 species of Mahseer in India. The largest and most impressive of them is the ‘hump backed’ Mahseer, found only in River Cauvery in South India. Here, it grows to sizes not seen anywhere else in the world. Recent studies have taxonomically identified it as Tor Remadevii, but work continues on this front.
The heaviest fish on record is one landed by British angler Ken Loughran at over 130 pounds in 2011. Most modern anglers practice strict “catch and release” angling, where the fish is released back alive into the water. Research shows that there is minimal impact of catch and-release angling to the health of the fish. However, the same cannot be said of other anthropological pressures that have been decimating this sh. Since Independence, we have ravaged our rivers on multiple fronts.
Dams are built and courses are changed, blocking historical migratory routes and submerging key spawning sites. Water is diverted to our cities and for irrigation, leading to low water levels and reduced rate of flow. This affects oxygenation and several large species simply perish.
There is indiscriminate netting, dynamiting and poisoning of water outside protected areas. Lastly, several invasive species such as the African Catfish, Tilapia, and even Alligator Garr and Piranha have been introduced into our waters. Some misguidedly as food sources. These species are often predatory and decimate native species completely. Herein also lies the danger of poorly studied plans such as river linking. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/main-article/why-do-fish-matter-743955.html (1 July 2019)
Karnataka Traditional fishermen make the most of ban on motorised boats Undeterred by extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani forcing them to anchor their boats at various jetties for three to four days, traditional fishermen across the State have resumed fishing to take advantage of ban being observed by the motorised boats. The prices of various types of fish are on the rise since the annual ban, a conservation drive during the breeding season observed for 61 days from April 15.
The State has around 25,000 to 26,000 non-motorised boats, including several catamarans (a wooden watercraft), of which 12,000 to 13,000 are operated from north coastal Andhra districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam. National Fisherfolk Forum general secretary Arjili Dasu said due to heavy demand for fish during the ban period, traditional fishermen would certainly make a killing as throughout the year they find it difficult to make their both ends met. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/traditional-fishermen-make-the-most-of-ban-on-motorised-boats/article27064073.ece (8 May 2019)
Poor catch in Bhadra backwaters worries fishermen The fishermen who eke out a living by catching fish in the backwaters of Bhadra dam are worried over dwindling fish catch. Several families from Ravooru, Lingapura, Maridibba, Morimutt, Halemakodu, Lakkunda, Koosagal, Aldara, Bhairapura and surrounding areas in N R Pura taluk depend on fishing for livelihood. Katla, Rohu, Common carp, Mrigal carp, Gojale, Suragi, Pattegara and other species of fish are available in the backwaters of Bhadra dam.
The fishing was thriving in the region for decades. However, the fishermen feel that there has been a decline of 80% in the catch. Fishermen alleged that more people than the licensed fishermen were engaged in fishing. The govt is negligent towards releasing fingerlings the backwaters, leading to a decline in the catch. https://www.deccanherald.com/poor-catch-bhadra-backwaters-704639.html (24 Nov. 2018)
SAND MINING Illegal sand extraction affects clam collection The illegal sand extraction in River Nethravathi, including at ‘Kudru’ areas in Ullal, have taken a toll on traditional fishing carried out by many families. The families were eking out a livelihood by catching clam (locally called maruvai) in Kudru in Ullal. Illegal sand extraction has severely affected livelihood of families as clams and fish are not available in the river for a year now.
The reduction in catch had led to livelihood crisis and uncertainty, adding to the woes of clam collectors. The families alleged that the intensified illegal sand mining in the region had resulted in fish famine and disappearance of clams in the area. “We go for fishing before dawn and it has become painstaking nowadays. The clam deposits have dwindled drastically as a result of illegal sand extraction. We need to protect our resources to ensure our livelihood,” a resident emphasised.
Over the years, the Kudru had witnessed many illegal sand extractions resulting in the drastic decline in fishery resources, including clams. Despite our complaints to the authorities, illegal sand mining continues unchecked, another resident Naveen D’Souza rued. “We were engaged in fishing from the time of our ancestors. We were catching fish and clams using small crafts. The illegal sand extraction has destroyed the fish and clams. Now, we are not able to collect clams in large quantities,” he said. https://www.deccanherald.com/illegal-sand-extraction-affects-clam-collection-723916.html (18 March 2019)
Sand extraction near fish sanctuary halted tentatively The Department of Mines and Geology has passed an order to tentatively halt sand extraction from the Tunga in the vicinity of the Chibbalagudde fish sanctuary in Tirthahalli taluk. The 3-km stretch of the Tunga river near Chibbalagudde in Tirthahalli taluk hosts 27 varieties of fishes and has been declared as a fish sanctuary by the State government. The department had sanctioned permission recently for sand extraction from the Tunga bank in Dabbanagadde village located a few metres away from Chibbalagudde.
– Environmentalists had expressed apprehension that sand extraction here would loosen the river bank and alter the course of the river owing to which the fish in Chibbalagudde might migrate to other places or they might cease to exist. Residents of Chibbalagudde and surrounding places had requested the district administration to stop sand extraction to conserve the aquatic creatures here. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sand-extraction-near-fish-sanctuary-halted-tentatively/article27041465.ece (6 May 2019)
Yettinahole Project Yettinahole won’t quench thirst but will destroy environment Yettinahole diversion project will not help either the people living in arid regions in Karnataka (Chikballapur, Kolar, Tumkur) or local people in Gundia river basin. Those who reside around the Yettinahole catchment would be deprived of their right to water, while people in the arid regions would only get to see dry canals, etc. Implementation of the project would lead to water scarcity in Hassan and Mangalore, and will not benefit Chikkballapur, Kolar, etc. Livelihood of those living around the Yettinahole and Gundia catchments would be severely affected due to a decrease in agricultural and fisheries yield, similar to the residents of Nellore district with the implementation of Telugu-Ganga project.”
According to the 2015 report by the High Level Working Group in Western Ghats (HLWG), Yettinahole falls under the Ecological Sensitive Zone (ESZ) and as per the recommendations there shall be no developmental activities. Kshitij Urs, faculty at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, says the NGT has not lived up to the true spirit of the Act. The Yettinahole project is a shining example of how they have gone wrong. The Supreme Court must stop the project and the petitioners have made it clear that they will appeal at the apex court. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/290519/yettinahole-wont-quench-thirst-but-will-destroy-environment.html (29 May 2019)
Linganamakki Dam Water diversion: Death knell for Sharavathi Very detailed informative piece on Sharavathi river explaining why Linganamakki Dam is nonviable, adverse impacts of built hydro power projects on river bio diversity, local communities and how illegal sand mining, unsustainable farming are other existing threats affecting the river.
A recent study by the IISc, Bengaluru, points at the cumulative impact of year-long water releases from dams on salinity conditions in the estuary of Sharavathi. “Estuaries act as a spawning ground for the fish and as a nursery for the juveniles and larvae. They naturally have different salinity gradients that help marine fish diversity to flourish. While the estuary of River Aghanashini in Uttara Kannada has eight types of bivalves, it has reduced to one in the Sharavathi. Similarly, the Aghanashini estuary has 80 types of fish but Sharavathi estuary has only 40,” says coastal ecosystem expert Dr M D Subhash Chandran. The reason is obvious: Unlike River Sharavathi, the Aghanashini flows free. https://www.deccanherald.com/exclusives/water-diversion-death-knell-for-sharavathi-750108.html (27 July 2019)
Kerala COASTAL SAND MINING – In Alappad panchayat, activists estimate that more than 6,000 fishermen families have vacated over the years due to beach erosion, drinking water scarcity and lack of fish availability. Sooner or later the panchayat will also be turned in to a sand bund, remaining residents say.
– The remaining families in this 23 kilometres stretch of coastal region (Kollam Neendakara to Kayamkulam) are under the threat of eviction; for the last few years, they have been expecting a massive coastal erosion that can engulf their villages. Most of the people have been forced to leave their houses, even without any compensation from the authorities or the mining companies. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/villages-vanish-keralas-kollam-coast-they-succumb-sand-mining-94762 (9 Jan. 2019)
According to reports, while a litho map of Alappad village showed 89.5 square kilometre of land in the area, this shrunk to a mere 8 sq km of land by 2019. Aggrieved fisherfolk from the coastal hamlets of Alappad gathered at a village called as Vellana Thuruthu and are on a relay hunger strike which saw its 68th day on Jan. 7. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/anti-mining-campaign-kerala-thats-got-support-actor-tovino-and-vijay-fans-94680 (8 Jan. 2019)
Fishermen claim hamlet after hamlet was ‘disappearing’ from the map due to mining activities by the Indian Rare Earth (IRE), a central Public Sector Undertaking, and state government-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML). https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/alappad-a-tale-of-lost-land-to-mineral-sand-mining-119011100385_1.html (11 Jan. 2019)
Alappad’s struggle against mining PSUs is as old as its mining history. The mining started around 1912 by private companies and it was later taken over by PSUs in 1965. But the initial years were largely peaceful. “The fishermen community was ignorant about the mining. There were heaps of sand for them to be scooped up,” said district secretary of Dheevara Sabha M Valsan, who led many protests against IRE.
But things started to change when fishermen realised the mining started to affect their livelihood. They were also keen to get a salaried job in IRE. The first protest was led by former panchayat president of Alappad P Chellappan in 1970. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2019/jan/20/the-many-struggles-of-alappad-1927437.html (20 Jan. 2019)
Centre banned beach sand mining by private companies for extraction of rare earth minerals as part of a crackdown on widespread corruption and stop erosion of sea shores and ecosystem in four coastal states. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/private-companies-barred-from-coastal-sand-mining-for-rare-earth/articleshow/68120161.cms (23 Feb. 2019)
Invasive Fish Threats Aliens fish in state rivers With the floods that have once again occurred in some parts of Kerala over the past few days, there is indeed a chance that exotics held in captive facilities have moved into nearby natural waters once again, according to Raghavan.
“But the flood situation is still grim and fishing in rivers has not resumed,” he says. “Once it does, we can get information on new occurrence records again.” The team plans to begin this work once again from next week to obtain more information on alien fish species that this year’s floods may have released into Kerala’s water systems. https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/monstrous-alien-fish-spotted-in-the-rivers-of-kerala-after-the-states-2018-floods-7174731.html (16 Aug. 2019)
Informative piece on how exotic, invasive fish species pose threat to native species, river eco-system and India lacking rules including no national policy to deal with the serious issue. But the larger problem of aliens turning invasive is not restricted to Kerala’s waters alone. Several fish introduced legally in India for aquaculture such as tilapia are thriving in many water bodies across the country. So are many illegally-introduced species (such as the red-bellied pacu and African catfish), which do not figure in the list of 92 species permitted to be imported into the country as per the guidelines laid down by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. There are news reports of alligator gar sightings from waterbodies in the states of Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
While existing laws such as the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and the Environment Protection Act of 1986 have included provisions for managing invasive species as do some prevailing quarantine acts, there is no national policy to deal with these species, pointed out Kumar. “There is no clear cut policy to handle invasive species in India, not to speak about a dedicated institution to foresee invasive species management, despite being part of international commitments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity,” he adds.
Indeed, stronger quarantine laws to completely restrict any foreign fish species from deliberate introductions hereafter are important, agreed ATREE’s Kelkar. Clear definitions of when a species is invasive in the real sense and causes ecosystem- and fisheries-level impacts are also crucial, he said. A change in perspective could be key too. “For the police and customs staff checking on biological quarantines, fish are fish. This has to change, as we try to control truly invasive populations,” added Kelkar. https://thewire.in/environment/enormous-alien-fish-spotted-in-keralas-rivers-after-2018-floods (17 Aug. 2019)
Tamil Nadu Plan for inland fishing policy The ayirai fish (commonly known as spiny loach), a Tamil specialty, once found in abundance in rivers and ponds in southern Tamil Nadu has become a rare delicacy now. Overexploitation and commercial interest in ornamental and non-native fish species have led to these crowding freshwater sources, edging out familiar varieties; adding to the problem is encroachment and pollution. Rules in the inland fisheries department are the need of the hour, says A P Palanichamy, associate professor at Periyar EVR College.
“At the outset, the state does not know the actual number of freshwater bodies. Second, there is no study on the fish wealth. Over fishing is rampant. We have seen fishermen disregard the fishing ban season. In villages, a lot of irregularities take place, and big contractors take advantage of the lack of a policy.” Officials in the fisheries department, however, say they act on complaints. There are more than 40,000 lakes under various departments such as HR&CE, rural development, PWD and local bodies. “We need to integrate and bring in legislations to ensure that fish is conserved. The process has begun,” says a senior fisheries department official. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/plan-for-inland-fishing-policy-could-revive-tns-fish-wealth/articleshow/68929245.cms (25 April 2019)
Importance of Ennore Creek, Kattupalli, Policat Ennore Creek, Kattupalli island and Lake Pulicat are extremely important for Chennai’s water security and flood protection. Twenty Chennai youngsters, plan to cycle from Ennore (Kattukuppam) to Pulicat on 31 March, 2019, on a rally for water. They shall be stopping at enroute in fishing villages and express solidarity to struggle of fishing communities. For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman (9444082401), For Save Ennore Creek Campaign. https://dc.icsf.net/en/component/dcnews/articledetail/13501.html (29 March 2019)
Pulicat lake bar mouth to be dredged The Fisheries Department has called for tenders to undertake dredging and desilting of the Pulicat lake estuary. This is a temporary solution to remove tonnes of silt that is blocking the movement of seawater into and out of the brackish water lake in Tiruvallur district.
Fishermen from villages including Annamalaicheri, Korakuppam, Pasiyavaram, Thoniravu, Madhakuppam, Andikuppam and Kottakuppam depend on the lake for their livelihood. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/pulicat-lake-bar-mouth-to-be-dredged/article26668647.ece (29 March 2019)
Fishermen, farmers don’t see eye to eye on river water run-off Fishermen and farmers in Nagapattinam district are not on the same page on the issue of river water run-off into the sea at the time of the monsoons. With water from the Kollidam draining into the sea due to heavy discharge from Mettur dam, farmers in the coastal belt have expressed their dissatisfaction with the government over incompletion of construction work on a dam.
– Farmers in Thirumullaivasal, Edamanal, Thandavankulam, Thiruvengadu, Mangaimadam in Sirkazhi block in Nagapattinam district have been demanding early implementation of the barrage project across the Coleroon. The project involves construction of the barrage across the river with head sluices at the downstream of the lower anicut near Adhanur and Kumaramangalam villages in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts at an estimated cost of Rs 400 crore.
– Fishermen, on the other hand, say the flow of fresh water into the sea is necessary for increasing productivity of marine resources. The teeming population of plankton provides a base for diverse and valuable food webs, fuelling the growth of some of the prized fish, according to Rajendran Nattar, a fisherman of Nagapattinam, quoting scientific studies. The richness of phytoplankton made possible through flow of fresh water into the sea leads to rich zooplankton growth, which, in turn, results in abundant fish population, studies state. The coastal communities are benefitted as flow of river water into sea also repels salt water moving upstream, and prevents loss of wetland. Estuaries, the meeting point of fresh and salt water, fuels most productive eco systems, the studies further state. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/fishermen-farmers-dont-see-eye-to-eye-on-river-water-run-off/article29442859.ece (17 Sept. 2019)
Will silted Ponaniyar dam be conducive for breeding fish, fishers wonder After almost five years of being jobless, a community of 25 registered fishers in the Ponaniyar dam area now senses an opportunity. The Fisheries department is planning to release fish seeds into the dam. This would promote fishing, using the increased amount of water stored in the dam. However, fishermen feel the amount of uncleared silt in the dam storage area may hinder fish breeding.
– As the dam on average contained 30 feet of water, the Fisheries department, to provide job opportunities to people close to the area, started breeding fish for commercial sales till 2013. However, as water levels dropped below 20 feet, fisheries operations were halted from 2014, leaving local fishers jobless. As a result, most fisheries facilities close to the dam area and equipment have not been maintained for these years. Locals are now urging the department to restore the fisheries buildings and storage facility and are also seeking aid to purchase equipment. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2019/oct/21/will-silted-ponaniyar-dam-be-conducive-for-breeding-fish-fishers-wonder-2050772.html (21 Oct. 2019)
Magic Mahseer of Meghalaya “Without spending millions of rupees, without passing through several tiers of experts and organizations, without being tied in the unresponsive walls of bureaucracy and expert speak and without having a single farcical “hatchery” or “Fish Breeding Center”, fish sanctuaries of Meghalaya teach us a rare and precious lesson: that conservation works best when it comes from the people, when communities are respected and trusted and when the government and experts are facilitators at best.” https://sandrp.in/2018/12/03/magic-mahseer-of-meghalaya/ (3 Dec. 2018)
Yamuna Fish, Fisherfolks at Palla Bhim Singh Rawat of SANDRP visits Yamuna at Palla, upstream of Wazirabad, where Yamuna enters Delhi, to know about fish and fisher-folks there. Feedback is welcome. Please read and share. https://sandrp.in/2019/04/28/yamuna-fish-fisher-folks-at-palla/ (28 April 2019)
Surest way to defeat Solastalgia: Zuari River Fishing Community This amazing Guest blog by Sebastiao Rodrigues, about what is going on around rivers in Goa and how the fisher people are fighting, but how all of us need to join the fight. Beautifully written. Please Read and Share. https://sandrp.in/2019/05/02/surest-way-to-defeat-solastalgia-zuari-river-fishing-community/ (2 May 2019)
Ithikkara River in Kerala: Tampering with Nature – a recipe for negative NPV Very interesting Guest Blog by Jacob Chandy Varghese, about how human interventions have destroyed Ithikkara River and its estuary, and thus the natural fish cycles in Kerala and how the consequences were seen during Aug 2018 floods too. https://sandrp.in/2019/01/25/ithikkara-river-in-kerala-tampering-with-nature-a-recipe-for-negative-npv/ (25 Jan.2019)
Book Review:Kings of the Yukon the fish did not change we changed Parineeta Dandekar reviews this iconic book by British writer Adam Weymouth’s Kings of the Yukon (US Edition by Little, Brown 2018). It is a book about the King Salmon: a fish which travels nearly 3,200 kilometers upstream the Yukon River from the Pacific Ocean to spawn and die in the same river pools where it was born. She draws very striking parallels between Salmon and Hilsa and the rivers they swim in. Very striking and interesting. Plz read and share. https://sandrp.in/2019/01/28/book-review-kings-of-the-yukon-the-fish-did-not-change-we-changed/ (28 Jan. 2019)
Freshwater Biodiversity ignored Big-budget nature documentaries are chronically ignoring freshwater biodiversity relative to terrestrial and marine systems, and it’s getting ridiculous. I believe this treatment of freshwater diversity is ostensibly representative of broader conservation priorities, and can in turn affect public perception of those priorities. Spoiler alert: I’m going to focus mainly on fishes.
Why should we care? Fresh water is arguably our most valuable natural resource, and the organisms that live in it can be valuable indicators of the health of that natural resource. Further, freshwater systems are believed to be experiencing declines in biodiversity at a rate even greater than we observe in most terrestrial systems (Dudgeon et al. 2006), yet freshwater conservation priorities lag further behind those of terrestrial systems (Brooks et al. 2006). https://thefisheriesblog.com/2019/04/16/hot-take-on-our-planet-freshwater-biodiversity/ (16 April 2019)
Educating young on ecological impotence of fish Link for booklet focusing on the relationship between fish and its environment along with observation and survey of locally available fish. Through step-wise lesson plan activities, children will be able to understand that fishes have important roles in each habitats, ponds, rivers, and rice fields etc.
– It is said that India has about 2,500 species of fish which are 11.7% of fish species in the world. Among India, as Bengal is called ‘the land of Maach (fish) & Bhaat (rice)’, fish is very popular diet in West Bengal. Diversities of water bodies existing in the landscape of West Bengal offers wider variety of fishes too. http://www.teachersofindia.org/en/lesson-plan/creative-lesson-plan-fish
क्या आप जानते हैं मछुआरें कौन है Dipak Dholakia writes about fisher people: मछुआरे हमारे समाज के हाशिये पर हैं. आम जनता को न तो इनसे कोई सरोकार है, न उनके बारे में कोई जानकारी. ऐसे में यह उचित होगा कि हम यह जानें कि मछली पालन क्या है और मछुआरों की ज़िंदगी क्या है. https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/hi/NewsDetail/index/9/16467/kya-aap-jante-hai-machuaare-kon-hai (13 March 2019)
Kerala Research on for fisheries activities at Harangi Possibilities of fisheries in 1886 ha Harangi reservoir on Cauvery river in Karnataka explored through Tribal development funds. Hope the conclusions do not deprive the tribals of their fishing rights. The Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, a subsidiary of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, has plunged into major action. https://www.deccanherald.com/research-take-fisheries-715973.html (1 Feb. 2019)
Meghalaya Govt Peon Builds Fish Ponds With His Hands, Sells 800kg of Fish/Year “If we had more people like him, we would have already achieved our target to become self-sufficient in fish production,” says East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Swapnil Tembe. https://www.thebetterindia.com/201047/how-to-make-fish-pond-techniques-sales-profits-meghalaya-rithson-marak/ (23 Oct. 2019)
West Bengal Kolkata boat museum: the only one of its kind WOW (for the article and this piece of history) but SAD (for the neglect of the rivers and riverine culture): “We know very little of Bengal’s riverine ecosystem and its culture. Historical texts use the term ‘nousadhon’, indicating how boats were used for various different purposes — commerce, travel, commute — making our culture chiefly riverine rather than landlocked. Unfortunately, we hardly know the details,” says Upendranath Biswas, the former State Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Department, who conceptualised the Boat Museum project in 2012, who also specialises in cultural anthropology.
– Swarup Bhattacharyya, the curator of Maulana Azad Museum in Kolkata’s Ballygunge area and a boat-enthusiast brought in by Biswas to help set up the Kankurgachhi museum, evidently has the dedication Biswas talks of. He addresses my queries about boats, explaining how the variety of waterbodies across Bengal, like khal (canal), pukur (pond), and doba (marsh land), necessitates the use of different kinds of boats. “Boat-building techniques are handed down orally from guru to shishya. They are tailor-made to the specific requirements of the area in which the boat functions,” he says. https://www.thehindu.com/society/this-kolkata-boat-museum-is-the-only-one-of-its-kind-in-the-country/article25752259.ece (15 Dec.2018)
Maharashtra CM announces a number of decisions including fishing rights for farmers in village ponds. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-devendra-fadnavis-announces-bonus-of-rs-500-for-paddy-farmers-5598444/ (24 Feb. 2019)
Tamil Nadu ‘Today we seek those fish in Discovery Channel’ Kadal Osai, a community radio of and for fisherfolk on Pamban island Ramanathapuram district, turns three this week. And it’s making waves – with climate change as its latest focus. https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/today-we-seek-those-fish-in-discovery-channel/ (12 Aug. 2019)
Gujarat Fishermen to be compensated for saving smooth coated Otters The forest department has launched a programme for the conservation of smooth-coated otters in the Diamond City. For the first time, a compensation scheme has been started for the fishermen. They are being gifted fishing nets in lieu of those destroyed by otters in Tapi River. Several studies have highlighted the presence of smooth-coated otters in Surat, Bharuch and Narmada districts. Every morning, fishermen are greeted by torn nylon nets left overnight in the river by them to collect fish. The trapped fish is a food for the otters, thus stealing the catch of the fishermen. Frequent loss of a net worth Rs1,500 forced fishermen to adopt aggressive methods against otters and they began installing trap cages, using poisoned fish as bait etc. This has begun to affect the thriving otter population in Surat. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/fishermen-to-be-compensated-for-saving-smooth-coated-otters/articleshow/71747191.cms (25 Oct. 2019)
Karnataka Mahseer may get ‘state fish’ tag Mahseer, the freshwater fish predominantly found in southern parts of India and now facing extinction, may soon get the ‘state fish’ tag, if the Karnataka government accepts the recommendation of the Western Ghats Task Force. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/mahseer-may-get-state-fish-tag-744615.html (3 July 2019)
NEW SPECIES DISCOVERED
New species of freshwater fish found Scientists of the Zoological Survey of India have discovered two new species of freshwater fish from the north-eastern and northern parts of the country. While Glyptothorax gopii, a new species of catfish was found in Mizoram’s Kaladan river, Garra simbalbaraensis was found in Himachal Pradesh’s Simbalbara river.
Both fish, measuring less than seven centimetres, are hill stream fauna and are equipped with special morphological features to suit rapid water flow. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/new-species-of-freshwater-fish-found/article29121424.ece (17 Aug. 2019)
Indian & British scientists find new fish species In a find that has excited Asia’s ichthyologists, a team of British and Indian scientists have discovered a brand new species of snakehead, a type of fish, from a paddy field in Kerala. Their findings, published in the international journal Zootaxa May 9, states that the new species is physically and genetically distinct from all other snakehead species in the world. The scientists have named the new snakehead species as the Gollum snakehead, with the scientific name Aenigmachanna gollum. https://theprint.in/science/indian-british-scientists-find-new-fish-species-in-kerala-name-it-after-tolkiens-gollum/233376/ (10 May 2019)
New signal fish discovered off Kerala coast Called Pteropsaron indicum, it is the first one of the genus recorded in Indian waters. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/new-signal-fish-discovered-off-kerala-coast/article29947500.ece (11 Nov. 2019)
India Nepal ‘Indo-Nepal effort needed to prevent Ganges Basin fish from losing genetic variability’ “This was the third time the summit happened, organised by the Nepal River Conservation Trust. Each edition was centred around a river. In 2017, it was the Kosi in eastern Nepal. In 2018, the Trishuli in Central Nepal. And this time, the summit was held at the banks of the Karnali river in western Nepal,” said Lockett. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-&-biodiversity/amp/-indo-nepal-effort-needed-to-prevent-ganges-basin-fish-from-losing-genetic-variability–63795 (2 April 2019)
International Mahseer Conference Experts suggest species atlas no-stocking for Mahseer conservation At the recent International Mahseer Conference in Bhutan, the main threat identified for mahseer was the pseudo-conservation practice of stocking the fish. According to WWF-India, of the 47 species of Mahseer that exist in the world, India is home to 15. Of these, the golden mahseer (Tor putitora) is endangered and the giant hump-backed mahseer (Tor remadevii) is critically endangered. WWF-India is identifying crucial river stretches requiring immediate protection for survival of the Mahseer.
It is currently working with the Uttarakhand forest department on river Kosi (a tributary of the Ramganga river) near the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Additionally, studies to determine species specific flow requirements are being initiated through a radio tagging exercise along rivers Ganga-Nayar complex, says Asghar Nawab, senior manager (biodiversity) at WWF-India. He says a species atlas as a single comprehensive reference point for information on Golden Mahseer conservation is being devised for Uttarakhand in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India and HNB Garhwal University. https://www.theweek.in/…/n…/2018/12/16/des8-env-mahseer.html (16 Dec. 2018)
India Bangladesh ‘Teesta’ row takes away Bangladeshi Hilsas from Bengal palate While replying to a question raised by Mrs Rohima Mondal, Trinamul Congress MLA of Deganga constituency in North 24-Parganas during Question Hour, the CM Mamata Banerjee said in the state legislative assembly today, “Bangladesh has stopped exporting hilsas to our country (since 2012) as they are not getting water of the Teesta.
Fish-loving Bengalis are being deprived of eating the prized fish of the neighbouring country. We have a good relation with Bangladesh because it’s our neighbour as well as friend.” Miss Banerjee said: “We are exploring how to breed Bangladeshi hilsa fish in some canals that have direct connections with the river Padma of Bangladesh.” “We have already set up hilsa research centre at Diamond Harbour in South 24- Parganas district where fisheries experts have started work on how to breed the fish.” https://www.thestatesman.com/bengal/teesta-row-takes-away-bangladeshi-hilsas-bengal-palate-1502773374.html (3 July 2019)
Bangladesh Hilsa fish production doubles during last decade The production of the Hilsa or Ilish fish has doubled in Bangladesh during the last one decade since 2008-09 from 3 lakh Tonnes to 6 lakh tonnes last year. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/hilsa-fish-production-doubles-during-last-decade-in-bangladesh.html (17 March 2019)
Fish population declining in the Sundarbans A change in human behaviour is critical to save the adversely affected fish population of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, according to a team of scientists. The range of advisable human activities need to be incorporated into govt policy, and the best place to do so is the state action plan for climate change, the researchers said. https://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2018/12/17/fish-population-declining-in-the-sundarbans/ (17 Dec. 2018)
Netting of fish has been banned in all the canals of Sundarbans from July 1 to August 31 in order to promote safe breeding and to preserve aquatic animals. The move is also being imposed to stop netting of fishes by spraying poison in the creeks of Sundarbans, as per DFO of Sundarbans East Mahamudul Hasan.
In the water body of the Sundarbans there are 13 big rivers including Bhola, Baleshwar, Salah, Passur and around 450 small creeks. The mangrove forest which is constantly flooded with tidal waters is home to 210 varieties of local fish like Bhetki, Roopchanda, Datina, Chitra, Pangas, Leyte, Churi, Med, Parese, Poya, Tapsay, Lakhna, Koi, Magur, Shol, Kain and Hilsa.A total of 24 species of shrimp including Bagda, Chali, Chaka and Chamti are found here. There is a total of 14 species of crab in the Sundarbans. https://www.thedailystar.net/environment/fishing-in-sundarbans-remain-banned-in-july-august-1764592 (30 June 2019)
Aquatic speices threatened by oil spill About 10,000 litres of heavy fuel oil spilled into Karnaphuli River in Bangladesh on October 25, spreading over a stretch of more than 16 kilometres. It poses a serious threat to the hundreds of fish species and to a breeding ground of the critically endangered Ganges dolphin.
– According to environmentalists it is a “major disaster” for dolphins as spilled diesel or any other type of oil severely damages the food chain of a river or a canal almost immediately after contamination. The diesel spill in the Karnaphuli River is a threat to the local biodiversity, especially the Ganges dolphins as the 22-kilometre stretch of the river from Karnaphuli estuary to Shah Amanat Bridge is their breeding ground. At least 20 dolphins have died unnaturally in Karnaphuli and Halda rivers in the past four years, mostly due to pollution. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2019/11/05/dolphins-threatened-by-bangladesh-oil-spill/ (5 Nov. 2019)
Save Halda river from ecological disaster Halda river in Chattogram, the lone source of natural carp breeding in South Asia, is now surrounded by a number of unplanned projects like rubber dams and sluice gates constructed on the upstream. These projects have been hampering the breeding of fish species, said speakers at a seminar, titled “Course of Action to save Halda River”, organised by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD). http://m.thedailynewnation.com/news/199897/save-halda-river-from-ecological-disaster (21 Dec.2018)
Race against time to save Halda river The local administration is struggling to scoop 105,000 litres of furnace oil from a canal linked to the Halda River as severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ intensified further on Tuesday and gradually headed for the coast. For now, makeshift embankments are preventing the oil from getting into Halda, Bangladesh’s largest fish spawning ground. But stopping the oil from polluting the river will be a huge challenge if the weather changes. https://unb.com.bd/category/Bangladesh/race-against-time-to-save-halda-river/17471 (30 April 2019)
Halda River pollution getting worse A recent report by the Department of Environment (DoE) states that the discharge of industrial effluents into the Halda River is causing depletion of fish stocks. Halda River is vitally important because we are told that it is the only place in the country where naturally-laid carp eggs can be gathered for hatching.
Unfortunately, DoE’s probe has found that a number of industries are directly responsible for polluting the river. This probe was conducted back in 2017 and two years on, we find that no effective steps have been taken to take the polluters to task. https://www.thedailystar.net/editorial/news/halda-river-pollution-getting-worse-1718881 (23 March 2019)
Teesta, Dharla turn into canals 12 small rivers have already dried up and two major rivers – Teesta and Dharla- have been turned into canals in the district due to lack of water flow from upstream India. Mile of chars have developed on the rivers, causing problems for the char people as they have to cross many kilometres of sandy char land to go to the mainland.
– As the two major rivers have turned into canals, almost all of the 300 boatmen and over 2,000 fishermen, who depended on the rivers to earn their livelihood, have became unemployed. They are searching for other jobs in the Teesta and Dharla river char areas. https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/teesta-dharla-turn-canals-1685923 (11 Jan. 2019)
A River Dies in Kurigram Jinjirum river might be one of the least important issues for BWDB but for more than 2,00,000 people in Northern Bangladesh, it is their lifeline. It supports their agriculture, provides them with fish and freshwater and, in the remote northern border areas of Bangladesh, where transport infrastructure is inadequate and handicapped by constant river erosion, the river used to serve as a natural highway that connected communities. https://www.thedailystar.net/star-weekend/spotlight/news/the-jinjirum-dies-slow-death-1744762 (17 May 2019)
INDUS Pakistan Fisherfolk marches against dams on the Indus River The Sindh Peoples Long March was a massive public action that involved a 16-day walk of over 200 km from a small fishing village in the Indus River Delta region and culminated at the Governor House, Sindh, in Karachi. The long march, which started on 10 October 2018 and ended on 25 Oct. 2018, was organized by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) and got widespread support and solidarity from the fishing and peasant community of Sindh, civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media. https://www.icsf.net/en/samudra/article/EN/80-4371-The-Long-March.html (DEC.2018)
Fishing villages are losing their livelihoods as the Indus dries up The province of Sindh is grappling with an acute water shortage, a crisis which the government hopes to address through the construction of more dams along the Indus river. While fundraising for these megastructures continues in Pakistan, fisherman and delta communities along the river fear the worst, as they are transported back to 1991 when the Water Apportionment Accord between the country’s four provinces was inked – and when the fate of the fishing community was sealed.
– According to point seven of the accord, a minimum escapage of water to the sea is required to check sea intrusion. The Sindh province held the view that the optimum level for this was 10 million acre-feet, a figure which was debated at length when the accord was signed decades ago. While the accord was signed with this number in mind, it was also agreed that more research was to be done to establish the minimal escapage required downstream Kotri.
– This aspect of the accord recognises the culture of established miyans – a Sindhi word which refers to the fishing point on the river bank. Miyans in the past fostered a culture whereby fish were transported from the miyan to the market. Of these points, the sonn or gold miyan got its name from the wealth it brought to the fisherman in the nearby village. The village, about 4 km from Latifabad city, has enjoyed a period of economic well-being from the sale of fish that was found in abundance in the river.
– Sadly, the accord’s mandated 10 million acre-feet share was not given each year for the Indus river, resulting in a gradual water shortage. Without the required water the various species of fish vanished, and the miyans became shadows of themselves. Fishermen testify that, since the 1991 accord, water does not reach the Indus delta. As a result, these miyans exist merely in name. https://scroll.in/article/940924/in-pakistan-fishing-villages-are-losing-their-livelihoods-as-the-indus-dries-up (29 Oct. 2019)
The Ongoing Struggle on the Indus Auwm Gurmani from Pakistan explains the struggles of the Sindh Fisherman. http://pakistanmonthlyreview.com/indus.html (2 Feb. 2019)
Compiled by SANDRP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also see:- World Fisheries Day 2018: India’s Increasing Fish Kill Incidents
WFD 2018: RIVER FISH UPDATE FROM INDIA
2 thoughts on “World Fisheries Day 2019: Fish, Fisheries Update from India”
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