Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

WFD 2021: Incidents of MASS FISH DEATH in India

Feature image:- Thousands of dead fish wash ashore on Yamuna banks in Agra (ToI, 27 July 2021)

November 21, marks World Fisheries Day (WFD) to address the sustainability issue in fisheries sector. The day also signifies the critical contribution of largely neglected indigenous fisherfolk communities facing range of threats over their livelihoods. On WFD SANDRP has been presenting detailed annual reports covering important developments concerning fish diversity, fishery industry and fisherfolks wellbeing.

on WFD 2021, this first part in three part series focuses on mass fish death incidents in India over past one year. The next part will cover successful efforts by fisher communities to protect fish diversity and their livelihoods apart from relevant positive developments. The final part will present the overall status of fish species, fisheries industry and fisherfolks struggles during past one year.    

NORTH 

Jammu and Kashmir Fish species dying a slow death A German biologist Johann Jakob Heckel published a book, Fische aus Caschmir in 1838 in which he mentioned that there is 16 fish species in Kashmir, 12 of which were of the snowtrout genus Schizothorax. Feroz Ahmad Bhat, an assistant professor and head of fisheries resource management at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) said that now only five of them can be found now. He further said that even these remaining fish are declining. Problems like introduction of non-native species, rapid shrinking of lakes, water pollution, dams, hydropower projects, mining and the new emerging problem of riverbed mining leading to the decline in fishes. https://jknewsline.com/fish-species-in-jammu-and-kashmir-dying-a-slow-death/  (21 July 2021)

Fish die enmass death as Covid medicines dumped in Neeru river Authorities in Doda district ordered a probe after medicines worth lakhs of rupees from hospital supply were found abandoned at multiple places along Neeru River on Sunday, (Nov 8), leading to the deaths of hundreds of fishes. The medicines meant for the coronavirus patients were seen by locals after hundreds of fish died under suspicious circumstances in the river near Gupta Ganga temple, Parnala and Atal-garh area.

Neeru River is the lifeline of Bhadarwah since it is the primary source of potable water and provides water supply to trout fish farms besides being the source of income to local fishermen. Workers of trout fish farms claim that the mortality rate suddenly spiked after the medicines were thrown in the river in large quantities. “Since past one week, we have been collecting and removing medicines from our pond every day. Despite all of our efforts, dozens of fish have died in last couple of days and hospital authorities are responsible for this,” Barkat Ali of Bagwan trout fish farm Atalgarh said. https://thelogicalindian.com/trending/fishes-jammu-kashmir-24763  (10 Nov. 2020)

Himachal Pradesh Flash flood swept away over 3000 trout fish The Phanouti panchayat villages were affected by a cloud burst disaster around on September 30 causing flahs flood in Balagad khud that washed a dozens of pathways, two small foot bridges. The flash flood also swept away about 3000 trout fish at Lagoti area. The fish tank was filled with muck and debris. https://sandrp.in/2021/10/21/himachal-pradesh-cloud-bursts-in-monsoon-2021/ 

2500 trout fish found dead in fish tank Around 2500 trout fish suddenly died in fisheries tank at Soori (Arthi) village of Jogindernagar in Mandi district on Wednesday (Aug. 25). The preliminary investigation suspected water contamination and lack of oxygen as possible reason for the incident. Bachitra Singh, a resident of Aarthi, had got subsidy from the Animal Husbandry Department to start trout fish production in 2017. There were about 7500 fish in their four tanks. The death of trout fish in one tank caused him a loss of more than five lakhs.

Image source:- Amar Ujala

The state govt had set a target of 800 metric tonnes of trout fish production in the financial year 2020-21. A target of 950 MT production has been set for the year 2021-22. The Department of Fisheries also formulated an ambitious marketing strategy to develop 940 Trout units for sale. 50 per cent of the production of trout fish is sold in five-star hotels of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, but the demand has come down during the Covid period. https://www.amarujala.com/shimla/2500-trout-fishes-suddenly-died-in-jogindernagar-mandi-himachal  (25 Aug. 2021)

Trout farm owners are exiting the business because of poor supply of seed and feed from the government and exposure to flash floods. Additionally, government farms that supply to farmers, also sell their own trout and compete with the farmers, putting them at a competitive disadvantage in the market. The fisheries department is including insurance now, for infrastructure damage and loss of livestock and wants to facilitate farmers to open their own hatcheries to meet the demand. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/03/why-trout-farmers-in-himachal-pradesh-are-exiting-the-business/  (10 March 2021)

Mass fish death in Khajjiar lake Hundreds of fish were found dead on Sunday (April 18) in Khajjiar lake a famous tourist spot. Locals blamed contamination of lake water a cause for the incident. As per them drains around the lake were filled with waste and remained uncleansed. The heavy rains flushed the waste into the lake polluting the lake water  https://www.amarujala.com/himachal-pradesh/chamba/hundreds-of-dead-fish-found-in-khajjiar-lake-chamba-news-chamba-news-sml367861496  (18 April 2021)

Uttarakhand Did fish sense oncoming deluge? Near Lasu village Alaknanda river turned silver with shoals of fishes close to the surface around 9am. Within minutes, some hundred locals had gathered, ready with baskets, buckets, pots, pans to “pick up” the fish — they didn’t even have to drop a rod or net. What they could not have known was that about 70km upstream, in another hour or so, disaster was about to strike. And this was a precursor. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/did-fish-sense-the-oncoming-deluge/articleshow/80778754.cms  (10 Feb. 2021)

Alaknanda ecosystem to take 1 year to regenerate The riverbed of the Rishiganga and the Dhauliganga up to Srinagar nearly 100km was completely disturbed due to siltation, according to scientists. Also, downstream of the Dhauliganga Pipalkoti onwards, scores of fish species have perished as the river was flooded by silt, sediments and the water had high turbidity. To get the original population of fishes back, it will take at least ‘two to three years’, according to scientists.

Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of SANDARP who has worked dams for more than 30 years, said, “To save the ecology of rivers in the higher reaches of the Himalayas, the government should not repair or re-commission the Rishiganga and Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric plants. Hydroelectric power plant operations have the potential to multiply disasters in those landscapes.” Explaining how the riverine ecology gets impacted by hydroelectric projects, Thakkar said, “Setting up a hydroelectric plant would require building a tunnel, a dam, a road, a township, dumping site and blasting using explosives. When all such activities take place in and around a stretch of river, the area’s ecosystem gets adversely impacted.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/it-will-take-a-year-for-river-ecosystem-to-regenerate-experts/articleshow/80796534.cms  (11 Feb. 2021)

Chandigarh Dead fish floats in Sukhna lake This report says several dead fish seen floating in Sukhna lake in first week of Aug. 2021 causing foul smell in the area. Officials say it was due to decline in oxygen level and fish death during monsoon time was happening regularly. https://www.jagran.com/punjab/chandigarh-dead-fish-floating-in-chandigarhs-sukhna-lake-spread-smell-21900780.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

Punjab Dead fish found floating in Sangrur village pond A large number of dead fish were found floating in Dehlan village pond near Lehragaga in Sangrur district on Monday (Aug. 23). Fisheries department chief executive officer Rakesh Kumar said the fish died due to lack of oxygen after rainwater entered the pond. Jaspal Singh, a resident of the village, said the pond, spread over 2 acres, is near a residential area. Foul smell is emanating from the water body due to the decomposed fish, he added.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/dead-fish-found-floating-in-sangrur-village-pond-101629747327400.html  (24 Aug. 2021)

Hundreds of fish die in Kali Bein Days after the water supply from the Mukerian hydel channel was snapped, hundreds of fish died in the Kali Bein at Sultanpur Lodhi. Environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal said, “It is the fourth time that this is happening. The water flow from the Mukerian hydel channel was stopped on April 17. We had informed the PPCB that the pollutants from the toxic discharges into the Bein might kill the fish. While officials came to visit the spot, fresh water in the Bein was still not released. The toxic discharges from the Bhalane Dian Colonian and the partially operational STP, Kapurthala, also choked the Bein. Without fresh water, the fish die due to the toxic discharge.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jalandhar/hundreds-of-fish-die-in-kali-bein-242359  (22 April 2021)

On the one side, the WWF India announced a partnership with Danone India to enhance the ecological integrity of the historic Kali Bein rivulet, which also has Kanjhli wetland on its way, a Ramsar site. On the other, thousands of fish died due to sewage flowing into the rivulet from some colonies near Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala. This alarming situation for the aquatic life in the rivulet also coincides with Punjab government’s publicity of undertaking ‘channelisation’ of historic rivulet Kali Bein at a cost of Rs 26.09 crore. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/schools-of-fish-die-in-kali-bein-as-sewage-continues-to-flow-into-it/articleshow/82222832.cms  (24 April 2021)

This Hindi report says that the fish death episode was going on for past eleven days. Seechewal raised it with NGT monitoring committee during an online meeting on April 27. Letters were also sent to Union Water Minister, Chief Minister of Punjab and Punjab State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) demanding appropriate actions.

The report further says that annually water supply in canals is stopped around Baishakhi y to conduct repairing works. The volunteers of Kali Bein have been cleaning Kali Bein for past 21 years but are disappointed to see pollution still entering the river. Earlier such incidents have also occurred in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. https://www.jagran.com/punjab/kapurthala-issue-of-dead-fish-in-the-bay-raised-in-ngt-meeting-21604789.html  (30 April 2021)

Fish found dead in Rajindra Lake, Patiala A number of fish were found dead due to unknown reason at the recently rejuvenated Rajindra Lake on July 14. A PWD official stated that the department did not release any fish into the lake but would investigate their death. Kamla, a woman who lives near the lake, adjacent to the Kali Devi temple, said, “A person has been releasing a number of fish into the lake. He did not come for a few days.” Meanwhile, those residing nearby the place said the lake was not cleaned. Sohan Lal Garg, XEN, PWD, said the department was looking after the management of the lake as it was yet to be handed over to the Municipal Corporation. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/patiala/fish-found-dead-in-rajindra-lake-284502  (17 July 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Second time in 5 months, dead fish wash up on Yamuna shores in Agra  Hundreds of dead fish once again washed ashore on the banks of Yamuna river, near Rambagh ghat in Agra, on Tuesday (Nov. 16), possibly due to discharge of “highly polluted” industrial waste into the river between Mathura and Agra.

Though UP SPCB officials claimed that the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the water were more than the permissible limits required for aquatic life, sources said that release of recycled waste water into river after treatment of Yamuna water with high content of chlorine could have been the cause of the death of fish. Besides, non-functional sewage treatment plants (STP) in the city could also have contributed to the incident.

ToI Image

Citing the reasons for the dead fish, Sharma said that when the flow of water at Gokul barrage in Mathura was resumed after being stopped for a certain period, mud at the bottom of the river dissolved in the water had depleted the oxygen levels, adversely affecting the aquatic life. However, Gokul barrage officials in Mathura refuted this claim and said that if this was true, then some fish should have also washed ashore there, too.

Sources told TOI that the STPs at points where the Yamuna water enters Agra — Budi ka Nagla and Jaganpur — have been non-functional. Sewage pumping stations in Manoharpura, Balkeshwar, Rajwaha and Naraich are also not working properly, a source added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/uttar-pradesh-second-time-in-5-months-dead-fish-wash-up-on-yamuna-shores-in-agra/articleshow/87766021.cms  (17 Nov. 2021)

Thousands of dead fish wash ashore on Yamuna banks in Agra Industrial waste gushing into the Yamuna from Delhi, release of stagnant water from Mathura’s Gokul barrage and non-functional STPs seem to have turned the river waters “highly toxic” — shoals of dead fish washed ashore on the banks of the Yamuna in Agra over the past few days. https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/agra-city-water-of-yamuna-is-getting-poisonous-thousands-of-fish-have-died-jagran-special-21856676.html  (23 July 2021)

According to the latest data from the Yamuna Pollution Control Unit under UP Jal Nigam, 90 drains were discharging sewage waste of about 286 million litres per day (MLD) in Agra in January. However, only 105 MLD were being treated at 9 STPs. “Besides, of the 90 drains, only 29 have been tapped,” an official said.

The gap between sewage generation and treatment remains one of the major challenges in addressing river pollution. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data from March 2021 showed that urban areas in the country generate over 72,000 MLD of sewage. But the country’s combined sewage treatment capacity is a little under 32,000 MLD, less than half. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/thousands-of-dead-fish-wash-ashore-on-banks-in-agra/articleshow/84769550.cms   (27 July 2021)

Before this, mass fish death was reported in Yamuna river in Rasulabad village under Thana Nagla Singhi of Tundala in Agra on Jan. 15, 2021 due to chemical discharge by industries. Villagers complained that the pollution in the river was also taking a toll on the heath of their cattle.  https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/agra/fish-death-in-yamuna-tundla-news-agr4765752133  (15 Jan. 2021)

After Agra, mass fish death reported in Yamuna river on July 27, at Ghurha Jakhan village, Bihadi area, Etawah allegedly due to industrial pollution.  https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/etawah/etawah-news-etawah-news-knp6427710188  (27 July 2021)

Illegal fishing in protected stretch posing threat to dolphin, gharial & turtles Illegal fishing along 40-km river stretch between Balawali and Ganj area. Several fish markets are thriving in villages close to the Ganga. The rampant illegal fishing is threatening the biodiversity of the region, and derailing the attempts to save the endangered species, officials say. During the recent counting of dolphins in the Ganga stretch, the teams of the WWF seized five such nests in Bijnor.

“The illegal fishing is eating up the main food source of dolphin, gharial as well as of the endangered turtles,” a forest official said. Officials say that dolphins are generally not killed for meat, but the possibility of their getting trapped in these nets is high. “And often, the turtles caught in the net are dumped on the bank of the river near the barrage by the fishermen,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/illegal-fishing-in-gangas-protected-stretch-posing-threat-to-dolphin-gharial-turtles/articleshow/79844640.cms  (22 Dec. 2020)

Banda: Hundreds of fish found dead in Chhabi pond Hundreds of fish were found dead in Chhabi pond of Banda city on May 31 and June 01. Residents blamed sewage pollution entering the pond as a reason behind the incident and alleged encroachment on part of the water body. As per them officials on paper were spending huge amount on pond cleaning while it remained highly polluted. The report also mentioned land mafia encroaching parts of other water bodies in the city area. http://www.voiceofbundelkhand.in/uncategorized/banda-hundreds-of-fish-died-in-chhabi-pond-pond-has-become-a-haven-for-illegal-occupation/#comment-26  (02 June 2021) Poisoning of pond water by some miscreants was also suspected a cause of mass fish death.  https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/banda/thousands-of-fish-died-in-chhabi-pond-of-banda-up  (03 June 2021)

Similarly, hundreds of fish were found dead in a pond of Katai village in Lalganj area of Mirzapur allegedly due to poisoning of water by unidentified persons. The pond was auctioned for fisheries purpose by the administration and the lease holder felt the act was done by his rivals in panchayat poll. The lease holder informed the police and administration about this. It is alleged that this has been done in the rivalry of the three-tier Panchayat elections. https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/mirzapur/hundreds-of-fish-died-in-the-pond-mirzapur-news-vns589715517  (16 May 2021)

NORTH EAST  

Arunachal Pradesh Muddy Kameng & mass fish death In a development described as unprecedented, by Oct 29, 2021, the waters of Kameng River suddenly became dark with large amount of silt and debris and thousands of dead fish floating on the surface. A video on twitter by 1300 hours showed the dark Kameng waters. https://sandrp.in/2021/10/31/muddy-kameng-river-waters-mass-fish-death-in-oct-2021/  (31 Oct. 2021)

A man pulls a dead fish from the Kameng river in Arunachal Pradesh, India
(Supplied by Hali Tajo, District Fishery Development Officer, Seppa, East Kameng District/ The Independent)

Turbid rivers Tongam Rina on causes and concerns behind rivers turning turbid episodes in the state. The latest Kameng is third such incidents in last four years and it continues to remain silt laden even after a week. While the Siang’s turbidity was attributed to natural phenomenon, it was not the case with the Panyor (Ranganadi) river as it turned turbid in February 2019, thanks to the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited’s mismanagement and wilful disregard of the river and the people living downstream. During maintenance, the corporation released silt from the 405-mw Ranganadi hydroelectric plant, leading to extreme turbidity downstream, particularly in Kimin area. Though there was no increase in the volume of the river, the Panyor became unbearably fetid. Aquatic life was destroyed and fishes turned up dead on the banks of the river. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2021/11/08/turbid-rivers/  (08 Nov. 2021)

Meghalaya Hundreds of dead fishes found in Lukha Hundreds of fishes and fingerlings died and were found floating on the ‘mysterious blue’ waters of river Lukha in East Jaintia hills district on Dec 26, 2020. Since 2007, waters of river Lukha turn blue during the winter months. But, this year, the water quality reportedly deteriorated further, and turned ‘deep blue’. The cement factories around Thangskai and Lumshnong is held as the main cause for the pollution in the river system in the district. While the cement companies claimed that they were not responsible for changing colour of Lukha river, according to experts Calcium Carbonate slush from limestone mines cloud change colour of river waters to ‘blue’. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/hundreds-of-dead-fishes-found-floating-on-blue-lukha-river-in-jaintia-hills-of-meghalaya.html  (26 Dec. 2020)

Assam Hundreds of fish found dead in water tank Hundreds of dead fish were found floating on Sunday (June 27) in Dighalipukhuri water tank in Guwahati. An examination of the collected samples of the dead fish and the waterbody revealed that depletion of DO in the tank coupled with high organic load led to the incident.

Following the detection of around 600 kg of 400 dead fish of different species in the tank, Assam Fisheries Minister Parimal Suklabaidya directed the officials of the department to visit the site and ascertain the cause behind the mass deaths. The Dighalipukhuri or long pond in Assamese – more than 500 metres long – is located in the Ambari area in the heart of Guwahati. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/hundreds-of-fish-found-dead-in-guwahati-water-tank-due-to-lack-of-oxygen-2473807  (28 June 2021)

EAST

West Bengal Dead fish floating in Rabindra Sarobar A large number of dead fish were seen floating in the water of south Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar since Sunday (Oct. 24), triggering fear about contamination in the water among environmentalists. Environmentalist SM Ghosh said “dead fish is everywhere in the lake. Found yesterday and today. Lake water is toxic now.” Mr Ghosh said the dissolved oxygen level in the lake water appeared to be very poor, causing the deaths of at least 25-30 dead fishes.

Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority’s (KMDA), the custodian of the lake, Chief Executive Officer Antara Acharya said there have been indeed instances of dead fish floating in the lake water for past two days and the KMDA will take remedial steps to increase oxygen level in the water, including putting in more algae and other watery plants. https://www.ndtv.com/kolkata-news/25-30-dead-fish-found-floating-in-west-bengals-rabindra-sarobar-lake-spark-concern-2587322  (25 Oct. 2021)

Dead fish float up at Sarobar Hundreds of fish were found floating dead at Rabindra Sarobar, on Monday (Sept. 20), triggering speculations on whether dissolved oxygen has got reduced in the water due to encroachment by some clubs and indiscriminate dumping of waste in the water body. Desite heavy rain, a few die-hard lake lovers visited the area and were left shocked by the sight of hundreds of dead fish on the pathway along the edge of the lake. “Due to the overflowing water last night, fish might have swam on the land, but it is a mystery why they died all at one go,” said Sumita Banerjee, a lake enthusiast who never misses her trip to the lake.

“The phenomenon — called fish-kill or ‘die-off’ of fish population — is not uncommon at Rabindra Sarobar. It can be caused by sustained cloud cover. Phytoplankton are a main source of oxygen in ponds and lakes. Phytoplankton produces oxygen when there is sunlight, but they use oxygen at night. Oxygen does not diffuse well in water. Most water bodies require surface movement to generate oxygen. Wind works well. Add the effects of temperature drop and you have a recipe for disaster,” explained marine biologist Anirban Ghosh.

However, the disposal of high quantities of organic matter into the lake cannot be ruled out as the cause of rapid reduction of dissolved oxygen, said Sandipan Mukherjee, a marine chemistry expert. “The moment there is a huge amount of organic matter in water, there would be bacterial growth at geometric progression and break down the organic matter. Sudden surge of bacteria to disintegrate the organic matter will require an excess amount of oxygen that they will absorb from the water, causing deficiency in dissolved oxygen. I suspect there has been much higher anthropogenic activities at lake than before which, I suspect, led to this fish-kill phenomenon,” he added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/on-rain-soaked-day-dead-fish-float-up-at-sarobar/articleshow/86378154.cms  (21 Sept. 2021)

Dead fish surfaced on the water at Rabindra Sarobar for the second consecutive day. This triggered the fears of degradation in the water among lake enthusiasts.

“This is not the first time such a huge number of fish died in the lake at one go . This is why we want a thorough investigation into water contamination. We have already written to KMDA to form a committee to carry out periodic tests of lake water and identify the source of dumping of organic matter. Rabindra Sarobar is the finest biodiversity hotspot in south Kolkata and fish-kill is a clear symptom that not all things are fine with the lake ecosystem,” said Somendra Mohan Ghosh, an environment activist. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/dead-fish-in-lake-for-2nd-day-in-a-row/articleshow/86408580.cms  (22 Sept. 2021)

Activist assaulted at East Calcutta Wetlands An environment activist was allegedly assaulted at the East Calcutta Wetlands on Oct. 23 while trying to film an alleged attempt to plant dead fish laced with poison into the shallow water bodies. The fish is food for resident and migratory birds which flock to the wetlands in winter. Within minutes of eating a poisoned fish, a bird becomes weak and easy prey for humans. The practice is common this time of the year, when water is pumped out of many bheris (water bodies used for rearing fish). https://www.telegraphindia.com/my-kolkata/places/environment-activist-assaulted-at-east-calcutta-wetlands/cid/1836102  (27 Oct. 2021)

Lake regulars raise alarm after dead fish in water Dead fish found floating on Rabindra Sarobar lake on Saturday (Sept. 11) morning left morning walkers worried about the condition of the water. Many fear this might have been caused by construction debris that were hurled into the water by clubs along the fringes of the Lake, some of which have recently extended their premises. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/lake-regulars-raise-alarm-after-dead-fish-in-water/articleshow/86126340.cms  (12 Sept. 2021)

Thousands of dead fish surface on Digha beach Rows and rows of dead fish surfaced on Digha beach, causing massive panic among the fishermen and the locals. Several fishermen told News18 that they have never witnessed an event of this magnitude before and the locals were equally shocked. Some claimed that the fish are, in fact, ‘sea frog’ (puffer fish). Fish experts have now been told to find out the species. https://www.news18.com/news/india/panic-among-fishermen-locals-as-thousands-of-dead-fish-surface-on-bengals-digha-beach-3880832.html  (23 June 2021)

Odisha Mass fish death reported in Barhampur pond On July 31, rotten fish of different species in large number were found swimming in Berhampur pond located in Krishna Nagar area of Ganjam district. The District Fisheries Officer Pramod Raut said that the fish could have died due to low oxygen level or pollution. The exact cause of the deaths was unknown however officials did not rule out possibility of poisoning of pond water. Locals said that the dead fish started appearing on Thursday (July 29) and the number increased on Friday (July 30). The foul smell emanating from the rotten fish weighing about one quintal spread throughout the area. https://www.tv9hindi.com/india/odisha-large-number-of-dead-fish-found-in-berhampur-pond-samples-sent-for-investigation-759876.html  (31 July 2021)

Scores Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore At Puri Beach Hundreds of fishes have been found lying dead at the shores of Puri beach on Sunday. The visitors were surprised to see so many dead fishes littered and it was quite an eyesore to them. The fish that are lying dead are suspected to be Bigeye Snapper known as Disco Fish.

Many people said that the rise in the pollution inside the sea might could be the reason behind fish deaths. It is also suspected that the during the lockdown period, as these variety of fishes are not being exported, the fishermen might have thrown them away in the beach. https://kalingatv.com/state/scores-of-dead-fish-wash-ashore-at-puri-beach/  (23 May 2021)

Mass Fish Death At Mangala River Mouth In Puri https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN6HqzZ5Mlk  (23 July 2021)

Chhattisgarh Mass fish death in Durga pond On March 31, thousands of fish were found dead in Durga pond on of the oldest water body in Pendra. Poisoning of pond water due to enmity among locals was suspected a reason behind mass fish death. The deep and perennial pond is located at origin place of Arpa river.  It was named after goddess Durga given the practice of Durga idol immersion in the pond. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/chhattisgarh/bilaspur/pendra/news/fishes-found-dead-in-chhattisgarh-pendra-128375345.html  (01 April 2021)

Poisoning of Luchaki pond A police complaint was filed regarding poisoning of Luchaki pond water in Dharsiwa area of ​​Raipur. Such incidents are prevalent in rural areas. Earlier, incidents of mixing of pesticide or toxic substances pouring into the pond were reported other villages in the district most due to rivalry among locals for loosing fish contracts to local or outsider bidders. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/chhattisgarh/raipur/news/fish-died-in-a-pond-in-dharsiwa-area-of-raipur-danger-of-poisoning-128807305.html  (Aug. 2021)

Jharkhand Hundreds of fish found dead in Bhutaha pond In two days, around one quintal dead fish were found Bhutaha pond of Hondaga village allegedly due to poisoning of water. The incident caused financial lossess to fishermen. The matter was raised with Fisheries Department and local police. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/jharkhand/ranchi/kisko/news/one-quintal-of-fish-died-in-hondaga-pond-there-is-a-possibility-of-poisoning-128965604.html  (Sept. 2021) Around 30 quintal of adult fish were found dead at Getalsud dam, some 30km away from capital limits in Angara block, the needle of suspicion falling on industrial units in close proximity to the dam. https://www.telegraphindia.com/jharkhand/over-3000-fish-die-of-filth-in-dam/cid/1371668  (17 June 2018)

WEST

Rajasthan Chittor villagers protest against Hindustan Zinc In a bizarre incident, infuriated villagers from Nagri gram panchayat area of Chittorgarh district, carried a carcass of crocodile outside the collectorate and protested against Hindustan Zinc Limited, holding the company responsible for water pollution in Bedach river which is reportedly causing deaths of hundreds of fishes, birds and even their cattle population.

The villagers alleged that the toxic elements released by the company’s machinery are polluting the water heavily and in the past, too, mass mortality of avian creatures including fishes and birds had been reported to the officials, however, no stern action has ever been taken. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/chittor-villagers-protest-with-crocodile-carcass/articleshow/80714505.cms  (06 Feb. 2021) Earlier toxic gas had leaked from the plant causing heath issues in villagers. https://www.jagran.com/rajasthan/jaipur-villagers-protest-over-gas-leakage-from-zinc-plant-in-chittorgarh-21206345.html  (26 Dec. 2020) 

Gujarat Dead fish, snakes raise stink in Tapi Locals in Sarthana area of Surat were in shock on Monday (Aug. 23) morning when they found dead fish and snakes on the shore of Narmada Sarovar on river Tapi. Locals who informed the civic authorities were in panic as water from the river was their main source of drinking water.

The water body created due to weir-cum-causeway on Tapi river is named Narmad Sarovar. Water flows from bank to bank in the river throughout the year due to regular discharge of water from Ukai reservoir. Recently, due to heavy rains in the catchment area, a lake was formed in the area with water level going up to 6 meters. In the past, thousands of dead fish were found on Dumas beach. Marine experts said that due to a drop in dissolved oxygen in water, sometimes the fish die in large numbers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/dead-fish-snakes-raise-stink-in-tapi/articleshow/85572985.cms  (24 Aug. 2021)

Thousands of fish were found dead in Sabarmati After thousands of fish were found dead in the Sabarmati River on June 19 and 20, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) was regularly monitoring the dissolved oxygen levels in the water. AMC officials blamed weather change, overcast sky and reduced dissolved oxygen levels in the water as some of the reasons for the deaths.

Harpalsinh Zala, AMC incharge city engineer said that oxygen levels can also go down due to less movement or circulation of water. “Since AMC uses water from Narmada canal, water from the Sabarmati is used only for recreational and irrigation purposes, demand for which is low now. Thus, the water is stagnant.”

“It normally happens once a year when the change in atmosphere is reported. Also, due to mix of freshwater (rain), fish are shocked. Only when the water is circulated, oxygen will be dissolved… This natural phenomenon happens every year,” said a senior official of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation (SRFDCL).

Similar incidents were reported from Kankaria lake and Chandola lake too, due to which several fountains have been installed at the Kankaria lakefront. When such incidents are reported, boating activity is increased in the lake to increase circulation of oxygen in the water. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/sabarmati-river-amc-monitoring-oxygen-levels-after-thousands-of-fish-were-found-dead-7370955/  (22 June 2021) A similar incident had taken place in April 2019. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/massive-fish-die-off-witnessed-in-sabarmati/articleshow/68712483.cms

2 big fish found dead inside historical Sursagar lake 2 big fish were found dead in historical Sursagar lake situated in the heart of Vadodara city. Raj Bhavsar from Gujarat SPCA said the polluted water of lake is the reason for the death of fish. Earlier around 7 Wildlife turtles were found dead in Surasagar lake. https://connectgujarat.com/gujarat/two-big-fish-found-dead-inside-historical-sursagar-lake-in-vadodara-1108591  (11 July 2021)

Goa Shoals of dead fish wash ashore at Miramar Visitors of the tourist state were mystified as they saw shoals of dead fish washed ashore at Miramar beach. According to Joe D’Souza, retired scientist and social activist this phenomenon occurred due to the food chain getting affected from internal or external pollution. D’Souza says that inland vessels like casinos and trawlers leave their sewage into the river that causes the oxygen meant for the fish eaten up by the bacteria and the fish dies because of the same. The grills of fish are clogged due to suffocation. Mainly small fishes like Vellio, Burante etc washed ashore at Miramar beach. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=883871  (16 Oct. 2021)

Locals worry as dead fish float in Tar A number of dead fish were found floating in the Tar at Mapusa raising concerns among locals that it might be due to the release of hazardous chemicals. Locals had previously raised concerns over the pollution of the Tar. “The result of the fish dying is due to the harmful effluents released into the river” said local Shekar Naik, adding that the river has become a gutter. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/locals-worry-as-dead-fish-float-in-tar/articleshow/81383037.cms  (08 March 2021)

CENTER        

Maharashtra; Waterbodies Hundreds of dead fish found floating on Jambhulwadi lake Dead fish by the hundreds were found on the surface of the Jambhulwadi lake on Thursday (July 22, 2021) morning, with crowds of people rushing to collect them. The reason behind the dead fish floating to the surface of the lake is still not known, but according to fishermen in the area, who regularly fish on the lake, it is because of mud waves inside the lake. A total of 10 tonnes of dead fish were found and taken away by people.

Dead fish on the Pune’s Jambhulwadi lake in Katraj (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT

Jambhulwadi lake, which is close to Katraj chowk, is surrounded by many residential housing societies and a bypass road passes over the lake. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/dead-fish-by-the-hundreds-found-floating-on-jambhulwadi-lake-101626973080768.html  (23 July 2021)

Fish found dead in Salim Ali lake Several dead fish were found floating in the historic Salim Ali lake in Aurangabad on Sunday (March 21) morning, prompting the environmentalists to train their guns on the civic body for its failure to stop water pollution. Environmentalist Kishor Pathak said this was the second such incident — of mass fish death — within a short span of time at the lake.

“In July 2020, many fish had died due to contaminated water. The civic authorities failed to take cognizance of that incident, which has led to a repeat,” he said. The excess growth of algae in the lake due to high level of pollutants has been blamed for the lack of sufficient oxygen in the water — eventually causing the fish and other aquatic creatures to die. The issue of water pollution at the Salim Ali lake remains unaddressed till date as the direct release of sewage from nearby localities continues unabated. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/fish-found-dead-in-salim-ali-lake/articleshow/81619068.cms  (22 March 2021)

MPCB underlines high pollution in Ramala Lake With the hunger strike held by Eco-Pro organization for conservation of Ramala Lake gaining momentum, the MPCB dashed off a letter to the district collector, detailing the presence of high quantities of hazardous chemicals in the historic lake’s water.

Fish have been dying in the lake since quite some time and MPCB had earlier blamed poor content of DO for their deaths. MPCB said that the excessively high BOD in water is due to washing of sewage water into the lake. Suspended solids, TDS, iron, cadmium and lead have also been found higher than normal. The lake water percolates into the ground and the same hazardous water finds its way into the wells and borings nearby.

People living in the area around the lake have been complaining about foul smell and contamination in the water from their borings and wells since many years. MPCB has further stated that this contaminated water from the lake overflows into the adjoining Jharpat river and then washes ahead into Irai river, spreading the pollution far and wide. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/mpcb-underlines-high-pollution-in-ramala-lake/articleshow/81249268.cms  (28 Feb. 2021)

Hundreds of fish die in Ramala pond in Chanda Hundreds of fish were found floating dead along the bank of historic Ramala pond in the city on Tuesday (Jan. 26). NGO Eco-Pro Organization claimed the pond water has been poisoned due to pollution caused by the Macchi nullah flowing into it. The organization staged demonstrations to demand measures to stop pollution in the pond. President of Eco-Pro, Bandu Dhotre claimed that the fishes have been dying since last many days, but the matter came to light when they inspected the pond on Republic Day. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/hundreds-of-fish-die-in-ramala-pond-in-chanda-ngo-blames-pollution/articleshow/80487634.cms  (28 Jan. 2021)

Ambernath Hundreds of fish found dead Hundreds of fish were found dead in the Ambernath river due to excessive water pollution allegedly caused due to discharge of waste released from nearby Poultry farms. The local villagers claimed around 15 to 20 villages nearby use the natural water for daily use. But the authorities took no action against the erring owners.

The fish were found dead on Sunday (July 4) on Mukhi Govare rivers that come from the hills of Malang Gad and adjoining areas. Next day, officials from SPCB and other local bodies visited the river. “During primary investigation it was found that a poultry farm on the border of the hills had stored waste for many days, which was released recently. The waste also included chemicals in it that resulted in killing of the fish. We also got details from the poultry farm who confirmed the release of waste. Investigation is on”, said an official from MPBC. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/thane-hundreds-of-fish-found-dead-in-ambernath-river  (05 July 2021)

Indrayani Hundreds of dead fish found Due to a drop in the oxygen level in the heavily polluted Indrayani river, hundreds of fish were found dead along the banks. These fishes died in the last few days after pollution took a toll on the river that originates in Lonavala and passes through Pune before reaching Alandi. A thick layer of hyacinth has been formed on the floating water for a few kilometres which is proving deadly for the fishes.

Sewage water and waste from the PCMC is dumped into the river which worsened the pollution level of the water body. As per Nitin Shinde, sub-regional officer (Pune rural) of Maharashtra SPCB, the board had earlier requested PCMC to install a STP in the area to ensure untreated water is not dumped directly into the river. However, their request went unheard. The locals also protested against dumping waste in the river but to no avail. https://www.timesnownews.com/pune/article/pune-hundreds-of-dead-fish-found-in-indrayani-river-due-to-reduced-oxygen-level/741209  (05 April 2021)

Frothing worries residents Residents from Alandi raised an alarm over frothing of Indrayani river since Sunday (Feb. 14). On Feb 1 the same foam formation was noticed in the Pavana river at the Keju Devi temple boat club. On Tuesday (Feb. 16), a thick layer of foam was noticed in the temple town. Residents blamed industrial units from Pimpri-Chinchwad for releasing waste, while untreated sewage waste is also released into the river. “Every year we face this issue, but there is no concrete solution by MPCB so far. In the past few occasions incidents of fish dying have also occurred,” said Suresh Kali. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/foam-in-indrayani-river-worries-alandi-residents-101613559901978.html  (17 Feb. 2021)

Panchaganga Jal samadhi threat prompts MPCB to order water release The Maharashtra SPCB on Wednesday (Feb. 10) asked the irrigation department to release water from the dams so that hazardous effluents from the Panchaganga river can be flushed out. The decision was taken after several locals from Shirol tehsil threatened to take jal samadhi and stood in the water for over an hour to protest against the rising level of pollution in the river.

The protesters, mostly farmers, claimed that since a shoal of fish was found dead at Shirol barrage of the river three days ago, no action had been taken against the polluters. The officials belonging to the sub-divisional office of the MPCB met the protesters at the protesting site and said immediate measures will be taken to stop the death of aquatic life.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/jal-samadhi-threat-prompts-mpcb-to-order-water-release/articleshow/80791518.cms  (11 Feb. 2021)

Fish found dead in another barrage  A shoal of dead fish found at the Shirol barrage near the Panchaganga early on Monday (Feb. 8) morning triggered fresh concern over river pollution, prompting the authorities concerned to launch a probe besides a clean-up drive. Barely month ago, had a similar incident happened at the Terwad barrage, upstream of Shirol barrage. CM Uddhav Thackeray later directed the MPCB to seal the establishments releasing harmful waste and effluents into the river stream.

The MPCB issued show-cause notice to Shirol council as the waste water from the town continues to be released into the river untreated. Locals claim that the fish were dying because hazardous effluents from industries are carried in tankers and released into the river late at night. Activists from Shirol have demanded that water and power supply be stopped to Shirol town council offices because the administration failed to stop the waste water from entering the Panchaganga river.

Acting on the CM’s directive a month back, the MPCB had issued closure notice to the textile processing units from Ichalkaranji which release harmful chemicals into the river stream. The plan drafted by Kolhapur Zilla Parishad to treat waste water from major towns and villages along the river stretch still remains on paper, mainly due to want of funds. The outlay of various projects is over Rs 230 crore. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/fish-found-dead-in-another-barrage-near-panchaganga/articleshow/80755161.cms  (09 Feb. 2021)

MPCB official held captive for inaction After thousands of fish were found dead in Panchganga river near Terwad village in Kolhapur district, angry villagers on Wednesday (Dec. 23, 2020) tied up SPCB regional officer Sachin Harbad, claiming nothing had been done in the matter despite repeated complaints by them. He was released an hour later, only after MPCB officials promised, in writing, to probe the incident and take action against the guilty, including Ichalkaranji civic body officials.

Image source : TIE

“Since last year, thousands of fish have been found dead near the Kolhapur-type weir at Terwad village. Despite the release of untreated water by industrial units and untreated nullah water into the river, MPCB has not taken any action in the matter”, said Vishwas Balghate of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. Bandu Patil, a member of the Sanghatana, said there are 12 nullahs from Kolhapur and two from Ichalkaranji, besides hundreds of industrial units, which discharge untreated waste into the river. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/thousands-of-fish-found-dead-in-kolhapur-river-angry-villagers-tie-up-pollution-board-official-7117391/  (24 Dec. 2020)

Pavana Residents concerned about pollution  Concerns about massive water pollution in the Pavana river has come to the fore after citizens noticed huge amount of foam in the water which comes from the Pavana river at the Keju Devi Temple boat club in Chinchwad. A few days ago, a large amount of fish were also found dead in the same area. The nearby residents said that the water pollution issue keeps cropping up every few months.

Social activist Madhav Patil of the organisation Angolichi Goli, said, “The water pollution issues have been raised in front of PCMC commissioner Shravan Hardikar and mayor Usha Dhore, but problems of water pollution go unheard every time. No concrete steps are being taken by the PCMC to stop water pollution.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/residents-concerned-about-water-pollution-in-pavana-river-officials-promise-action-101612107925902.html  (31 Jan. 2021)

For 3rd time in week, dead fish rise in masses Three days after the Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor visited the Pavana riverside in Ravet and assured that water pollution leading to the mass death of fish would be curbed, a fresh massacre of the freshwater life emerged at the same spot on Sunday (Nov. 8, 2020). After Nov. 2 and 4, this was third such incident taking place in the last eight days with no action taken by the PCMC.

Concerned citizens asked the municipal commissioner to take stern action immediately against all those responsible. The development took place this weekend at Ravet-Punawale Bandara from where water is distributed by PCMC to MIDC areas in Chakan, Pimpri and Chinchwad. According to citizens, chemical water is released from companies at Mamurdi and Sangawde, but which units are indulging in these activities needs to be identified by officials.

Citizen activist Vishal Bhondave has complained to PCMC officials about the death of several fish in three different incidents in just over a week. He added that the fish and other aquatic animals in the river die horribly after oxygen levels in the water reduce alarmingly due to pollution. Bhondave added that after the Mayor’s visit, they assumed at least some concrete measures would be taken by PCMC — but in vain. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/for-3rd-time-in-week-dead-fish-rise-in-masses-at-pavana-river/articleshow/79136746.cms  (10 Nov. 2020)

Girna Dead fish & lobsters choke Malegaon’s water supply Water supply to the Malegaon, Nandgaon, Dahiwad regional water supply scheme and the Chalisgaon areas in Nashik and Jalgaon districts from the Girna dam was stopped from Thursday (Oct. 15) night when a large volume of dead lobsters and other fish chocked the jackwell. Agriculture minister Dada Bhuse, who represents Malegaon Outer, ordered a thorough probe to understand the cause.

The Girna dam is one of the largest in Nashik supplies water to parts of Nashik and Jalgaon districts. Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) commissioner Deepak Kasar said the dead fish were seen floating near the jackwell and more than 600 quintal of lobsters were found inside the jackwell.

According to the water resources department (WRD) sources, this could be an act of business rivalry or even a case of illegal fishing. “Fisheries contract is awarded to a person or company. But business rivals may try to spoil the produce. Some people carry out illegal fishing activities by using crude bombs to kill fish with shock waves or using chemicals. Anwar Hussain — who was given the fishing contract — registered an FIR against unidentified person for causing him loss of Rs 3 lakh by killing the fish. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/dead-fish-lobsters-choke-malegaons-water-supply/articleshow/78725457.cms  (18 Oct. 2020)

Madhya Pradesh Fish die amid Covid cremations “We were burning our loved ones by the river, hoping ‘Narmada Maiya’ will set them free. Little did we know our faith will subsequently eat up our fish,” said Ramdas Lauvanshi, a resident of Banapura village in Hoshangabad district. The fish in the river by the crematoriums have been found dead, allegedly poisoned by half-burnt bodies set adrift.

The fish in the river by the crematoriums have been found dead.
(Image: Ankita Das)

The crematoriums in Hoshangabad district’s Seoni Malwa block have been shut since Tuesday, 18 May, night, after the incident came to light. Villagers complained that fish were poisoned by the half-burnt bodies and the medical waste thrown alongside. https://www.thequint.com/news/environment/so-many-pyres-fish-in-mp-river-die-amid-covid-cremations#read-more  (20 May 2021)

Fishes die in Govindpura lake in Sardarpur Fishes are dying in Govindpura lake considered to be the lifeline of farmers of six villages in Sardarpur tehsil. Worse, the residents of Sardarpur and Rajgarh drink water of the lake. Govindpura Lake is.

The lake is under state Irrigation Department while Sardarpur Rajgarh Municipal Council is responsible for supplying water to the lake. But none of them were aware that the fishes are dying, rotting in lake water.

Fish inspector Suresh Ahirwar said small fishes die due to lack of oxygen. The authorities concerned were told to put three quintals of lime into the reservoir to clean the water. Irrigation department SDO Ashok Garg said it was the responsibility of fisheries department to find out cause of fishes’ death. https://www.freepressjournal.in/indore/madhya-pradesh-fishes-die-in-govindpura-lake-in-sardarpur-residents-drink-polluted-water  (11 April 2021)

Earthen stop-dam collapses An earthen dam constructed on Kahn river a tributary of Kshipra near Ujjain collapsed as water overflowed from the dam on March 18, 2021. The contaminated water stored behind the earthen dam (the dam was constructed just for that purpose) got mixed with the Kshipra water and flowed downstream, also killing the fish in the river. https://www.freepressjournal.in/indore/ujjain-earthen-stop-dam-collapses-kanh-water-contaminates-the-kshipra  (18 March 2021)

Mass fish death in Gauri Sarovar Gauri Sarovar was filled with dead fish due to lack of oxygen. More than 10 quintals of dead fish were scooped out from the water body municipality officials after locals complained of foul smell. As per report pollution from a drain and a nearby meat market was reaching the pond unabated making mass fish death a reoccurring incident before the onset of summer or during the summer season annually. Official admitted that pollution was entering the water body for past several years. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhind/news/death-has-been-continuous-for-two-days-10-quintal-fishes-were-removed-the-officer-said-there-is-a-lack-of-oxygen-in-the-water-128325124.html  (March 2021)

SOUTH

Kerala Hundreds of dead fish wash up riverbank On Tuesday (April 13), residents living near Thamalam in Thiruvananthapuram, on the banks of the Karamana river, saw a huge swarm of predatory birds fly down to eat a number of dead fish that were floating on the water and had washed ashore. The fish, which included many small varieties of fish including karimeen, started to decay causing a foul smell to persist. 

Residents say this is the first time they have witnessed the phenomenon. TNM

“I have been living here for 10 years, and this is the first time this has happened,” TC Cherian, a resident of Pearl Garden told TNM. The river originates from the Western Ghats and flows through the city of Thiruvananthapuram. Drinking water from Thiruvananthapuram comes from upstream of the river. Both the Aruvikkara and Peppara dams are built over the river. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/hundreds-dead-fish-wash-kerala-riverbank-residents-concerned-147324  (17 April 2021)

Residents blame BPCL’s rampant pollution for mass fish deaths A Large number of fish dying in the streams and canals of Ettikkara and Kakkad rendered the residents of these areas a worried lot. According to them, it’s the rampant pollution by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) that was causing these deaths. “Pollution has always been a major concern in Ambalamugal-Puthencruz panchayat. There have been many people’s movements against the unrestrained violation of pollution control laws,” said Pramod Lukose, president of Ambalamugal South West Residents’ Association. Jan. 2, 2021 fish deaths are an indication of how bad the situation is, he added.

Nearly all streams and minor canals associated with Periyar Valley Irrigation flow in or around the petrochemical company, said Pramod. “In this case, a major portion of the streams flow within the company’s walls and the water must have mixed with harmful chemicals, thereby suffocating the fishes to death,” said K K Ashok Kumar, vice-president, Ambalamugal-Puthencruz panchayat. These dead fishes are then picked off the surface of the streams by kites, he added. 

The incident has happened at a time when the trial run of BPCL’s new project has just gotten under way. “We fear that the chemicals from the PDPP plant might even have seeped in through the underground water table and from there into the wells of nearby houses,” said Ashok. What’s even more unsettling is that these streams flow into Chitthirapuzha, which is a drinking water source. “This plant has been built after filling up fields and streams. Adoor is surrounded by the company. The people here struggle with air, water and sound pollution, caused by the company,” said Ashok. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2021/jan/04/ettikara-kakkad-residents-blame-bpcls-rampant-pollution-for-mass-fish-deaths-2245018.html  (04 Jan. 2021)

Farmers blame pollution for cage fish kill at Chittoor After lockdown impact, a traditional fisher, K K Gopi returned to his traditional job and set up two cages in the Chittoor-Kothad River near his house at Makkanparambu, dropping fingerlings he caught from the backwaters and had purchased from a hatchery.

On Wednesday (Nov. 4, 2020), when he was near the cages to feed the fish they seemed quite happy, thrashing around on the surface. On Thursday (Nov. 5) morning, he was shocked to find them all dead and floating on the water. “There is nothing more devastating than seeing something like this. It’s the only hope I had,” says Gopi, who lost around 2,500 fingerlings and adult fishes. Rajesh, a resident of Edayakkunnam near Chittoor, who was engaged in cage farming with friends, also lost fishes in six cages they kept a short distance away.

The farmers blamed effluent discharge from two establishments nearby — a specialty hospital and a service station. “We are absolutely sure that the fish death is due to pollution. On Wednesday (Nov. 4) night there was heavy rain and the rising waters must have brought the polluted water to the cages,” said Gopi. According to Rajesh, the water also had the presence of used motor oil, as the water was black in colour.

“The people here drink the same water. Who will listen to our complaints? Because our life is linked to the river, we know what is happening to the waterbody,” says Rajesh, a traditional fisher. According to him, in certain parts the water is really black and the stench can be felt when the water level goes down.

“Everyone says the waters are no longer safe for fishes and that we should look for another spot,” says Gopi, who had taken water samples and dead fishes to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute for testing. According to sources, the samples showed a high concentration of heptachlor and aluminium, which has been linked to mass mortality of fishes in backwaters before. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/farmers-blame-pollution-for-cage-fish-kill-at-chittoor/articleshow/79074781.cms  (06 Nov. 2020)

700 dead tilopia fish raised in the pond died en masse. The pond is near the road so it is suspected that someone may have mixed some poison in the water. https://www.newsdirectory3.com/the-students-work-was-in-vain-700-tilopia-fish-dead-student-fish-kerala-news-news-from-kerala/  (24 Sept. 2021)

Fish farmers at Kavoli beach in Kasaragod faced a loss of lakhs of rupees after their fish died in large groups. The reason for the death is unknown. https://tv.mathrubhumi.com/en/news/kerala/farm-fish-die-en-masse-at-kavoli-beach-in-kasaragod-1.47679  (Nov. 2020) An Unusual Fish Kill in Chandragiri River, Kasaragod https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353802057_An_Unusual_Fish_Kill_in_Chandragiri_River_Kasaragod_District_Kerala_India  (Aug. 2021)

Karnataka Cold ocean current kills fish off Karwar coast  An unusual climatic phenomenon is believed to be responsible for the large scale deaths of the Silver Croaker fish along the Kasarkod beach in Honnavar taluk of Uttara Kannada district. According to marine experts, cold ocean currents, which can be an early sign of global warming, could have caused the fish deaths.

The 5 km-long Kasarkod beach was found strewn with about five tons of dead Silver Croaker fish. Local fishermen initially suspected it to be a case of poisoning or the result of illegal fishing methods. However, the cause was a drastic change in water temperature, pointed out marine expert Prakash Mesta who conducted some checks.

Explaining what may have caused so many fish to die, Mesta said, “This particular species of fish, a bottom dweller, cannot tolerate extreme cold temperatures. There are seven ocean currents. One is linked to Canada, which connects with the Indian Ocean. If the water gets cold there due to melting of icebergs, the water here also gets cold. The bottom sea fish are unable to bear this sudden dip in temperature and are washed ashore dead.”

Tandel said that he had noticed a similar occurrence several years ago, when Silver Croaker fish were found dead on the beach, but only about 5 to 10 kg. “But this time, a lot more fish have died. Our entire community got together and collected about 250 baskets of fish, weighing 5 tons, from the shore,” he said. Being edible, the fish was sent to a fish oil factory in Kundapur. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2021/oct/01/cold-ocean-current-kills-fish-off-karwar-coast-2366047.html  (01 Oct. 2021)

Water pollution killing fish in Bagalkot Hundreds of fish were turning up dead on the banks of river Ghataprabha, a major source of water for the people of Belagavi and Bagalkot. Locals allege toxic industrial waste being let into the river is responsible for the pollution. https://www.deccanherald.com/video/state/karnataka-districts/water-pollution-killing-fish-in-bagalkot-1005410.html  (06 July 2021)

Hundreds of dead fish float in Mottanalluru lake Hundreds of dead fishes were seen floating for the last one week on Mottanalluru lake in South Bengaluru. Residents said that the chemicals and effluents discharged from the industries located in Chandapura are flowing towards the Mottanalluru lake which is the main reason for dead fish found in the lake

Local residents allege that they were forced to live with the stench of dead fish despite complaining to the officials for the last week. TIE

Local residents allege that they were forced to live with the stench of dead fish despite complaining to the officials. After the stench became unbearable, lake activists and residents complained to local authorities including the SPCB. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/hundreds-of-dead-fish-float-in-bengalurus-mottanalluru-lake-residents-blame-pollution-7318416/  (18 May 2021)

According to the senior officials from KSPCB the sudden dip in dissolved oxygen took a toll on the lake.  Also, the inflow of effluents and pesticides from surrounding industries and agricultural fields led to such a tragic incident.

The amount of domestic and industrial waste flowing into the lake in the city has increased manifold due to the dramatic growth of Bengaluru over the last 2 decades. The flow of untreated sewage and industrial waste has made lake water unusable even for irrigation purposes. The biodiversity has also been killed over time owing to garbage dumping on the shores, among others. https://www.timesnownews.com/bengaluru/article/bengaluru-hundreds-of-dead-fish-found-floating-in-mottanalluru-lake-due-to-sudden-dip-in-dissolved-oxygen/758001  (17 May 2021)

Phalguni pollution worries locals Based on a complaint received over the phone on the Phalguni river pollution, a delegation visited the riverbank on Monday (Jan. 25) to understand the cause of pollution. Locals claimed that the water had turned black especially in a few areas near the bridge and pollution was also noticed at a holy pond.

The locals also feared fish kill and suspected that industrial effluents was directly let into the river. They fear that the wells in the surrounding area are also getting polluted. For gram panchayats, Paduperara, Ganjimutt, Kandavara and Gurupur, this river is the major source of drinking water. Locals also noticed a reduction in fish population and the water turning sticky. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/karnataka-phalguni-river-pollution-worries-locals/articleshow/80484972.cms  (27 Jan. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Kovalam estuary turns fish grave Thousands of fish, mostly juveniles, have choked to death in the past one month at Kovalam estuary, about 30 km south of Chennai, due to an increase in pollution load. Incessant pre-monsoon rains have drained pollutants from upstream into the estuary, and with the bar mouth blocked by sandbar, a toxic cesspool has been created with no escape for the fish, just a stone’s throw from the recently Blue Flag certified beach.

The water stank, indicating mixing of untreated sewage and industrial effluent. As per a rough estimate by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, that runs an experimental station at Kovalam, `10 crore worth fish, green mussels, and crab stocks, have perished in three months. After complaints of fish kills, the Public Works Department recently cut open a small portion of sandbar allowing tidal flow between the estuary and sea.

Joe K Kizhakudan, officer-incharge at the Kovalam Field Laboratory of CMFR I, told TNIE the root cause of the crisis was the choking of Kovalam bar mouth. For the last three months, it has been closed due to formation of sandbar. “For survival of any estuary, there should be constant exchange of sea water. When this stops, eutrophication happens. What is happening at Kovalam is really worrisome. Due to anthropogenic activities, a high level of nutrients is carried into the estuary, resulting in (algal) bloom,” Kizhakudan said. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/oct/10/a-stones-throw-off-blue-flag-beach-kovalam-estuary-turns-fish-grave-2369878.html  (10 Oct. 2021)

Fish found dead due to low DO level The recent death of a large number of fish at Saravana Poigai, the temple tank of Subramaniaswamy temple at Tirupparankundram, was caused mainly due to low levels of DO in the water, reveals the findings submitted by the SPCB and the Fisheries department. Executive Officer of the temple M. Ramasamy said that the dead fish floating in the pond were being removed everyday since Friday (Sept. 25, 2020) morning. “But, the quantum of dead fish removed on Tuesday (Sept. 29) was considerably lower,” he added. Mr. Ramasamy also said that the findings revealed that the fish density at the pond was also higher.

An official from the Fisheries department said that the main issue was that the water in the pond was stagnant as there was no outlet point. “The water is also severely contaminated as devotees and residents washed their clothes using detergents with powerful chemicals. Previously, thousands of fish were found dead in 2016 at the pond. Hence, we have suggested the officials to not grow fish in the pond,” he added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/fish-found-dead-due-to-low-level-of-dissolved-oxygen/article32724675.ece  (29 Sept. 2020)

Hundreds of dead fish found in polluted Rockfort temple tank Hundreds of fish in the Teppakulam tank of Rockfort temple were found floating dead on Thursday (Aug. 12). Preliminary investigation by fisheries department indicates that continuous dumping of plastic and food waste by the public and street vendors caused the death.

The tank belonging to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department (HR&CE) was taken on lease by the Trichy Corporation and has been brimming with water since January. A foul smell was coming from the tank for last few days and upon inspection on it was found that hundreds of fish were dead and afloat in the tank.

The corporation workers removed the dead fish and also removed at least 100 kg of plastic and food waste dumped into the waterbody. Officials said that as NSB and Nandhi Koil commercial streets are dotted with street vendors and small shops, the vendors and public dump food and plastic waste directly in the tank. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/hundreds-of-dead-fish-found-in-polluted-rockfort-temple-tank/articleshow/85286028.cms  (13 Aug. 2021)

Telangana Kothagudem: Lack of oxygen in tank kills thousands of fish Thousands of fish were found dead in Singabhupalem tank in Sujatha Nagar mandal in the district on Saturday (April 10). The reason for the incident was said to be lack of oxygen and release of excess quantity of fish seedlings into the tank by the local fishermen. The dead fish, both fishlings and grownups, would weigh over five tonnes, said the local fishermen society president B Suryam.

Water in the tank was also used to irrigate fields in the mandal and recently water was released to paddy fields which resulted in depleted oxygen levels in the tank. The problem was compounded by the presence of fish in excessive quantity, officials explained. Source said during the current season, about 7.45 lakh fish seed was released into the tank. In addition, the local fishermen released around 80,000 fishlings. https://telanganatoday.com/kothagudem-lack-of-oxygen-in-tank-kills-thousands-of-fish  (10 April 2021)

6 quintal fish found dead, villagers suspect foul play Fish worth Rs 3 lakh weighing around six quintals allegedly died due to poisoning in Lokaraokunta in Vennampalli of Saidapur mandal on Tuesday (March 23). Lokaraokunta falls under Vennampalli fishermen cooperative society. Fishermen, who were eking out a livelihood by fishing in the water body, were shocked after finding the fish dead. Besides lodging complaint with Saidapur police, they informed the matter to Deputy Director, Fisheries, Khadir Ahmed.

After inspecting the water body, fisheries development officer (FDO)  made it clear that fish were not infected by any disease before the death. Exact reason for the death of fish would be known only after testing, he informed. On the other hand, fishermen alleged poisoning of the water as the reason. They suspected the role of one Nelli Sammaiah, a native of Jagirupalli. Demanding the police to take serious action against culprits, they wanted the government to do justice to them by paying compensation.  https://telanganatoday.com/karimnagar-six-quintal-fish-found-dead-villagers-suspect-foul-play  (24 March 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Farmers irked over mass fish death in Visakhapatnam A large number of dead fish found floating in a pond at Parawada in Visakhapatnam created a flutter on Sept 13. Farmers, who farmed fish in the water body, locally known as Pedda Cheruvu, alleged that industrial units in the area had polluted it.  They said they recently staged a week-long protest demanding immediate steps be taken to check the pollution of groundwater due to pollutants from the industries. Expressing concern over the alleged pollution of the tank water, the farmers said though they had brought the issue to the notice of officials any measure to mitigate the problem was yet to be taken. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2021/sep/14/farmers-irked-over-mass-fish-death-in-visakhapatnam-2358410.html  (14 Sept. 2021)

Andaman Turtles death enmass calls for serious probe More than fifty turtles were found dead in in the North Andaman District on Sunday 10th Jan 2021. The dead turtles were washed away in the shores on a decaying condition and was noticed by the locals first. They were found in Kalipur Beach, Lamiya Bay in Diglipur and also at Karmatang Beach in Mayabunder. Speculations are that the deaths are a result of fishing net but the exact reason is not made clear by the concerned Wildlife Division in spite of post mortem conducted. http://www.andamanchronicle.net/index.php/20466-death-of-large-number-of-turtles-in-north-andaman-calls-for-serious-investigation  (13 Jan. 2021)

India Water Portal Mass fish deaths can pose a challenge to the environment, biodiversity and fisherfolk who depend on them for their livelihoods. Why do they happen? https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/water-can-kill  (12 Nov. 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

India-Pakistan Pollution in Sutlej kills fish in large number India released untreated water into Sutlej River, killing a large number of fish on Saturday (Jan. 30). The local fishermen said that several fish seeds at ponds areas were also damaged owing to poisonous water. “This is another form of terrorism and clear violation of environment,” said Ahmed Zafir, a local resident of Head Sulemanki. The release of poisonous water in Sutlej River was killing fish and badly damaging livestock sectors.

“We are fearing of skin disease in the area due to supply of dead fish in the market,” said Zafir, warning the people to avoid from using such fish. “Normally people don’t know what kind of fish they are eating. It is dangerous,” he added. The officials took notice of the untreated water into Sutlej River. This is not for the first time that India has released untreated water as it is frequent move. https://www.urdupoint.com/en/business/india-releases-poisonous-water-into-sutlej-ri-1155435.html  (30 Jan. 2021)

Compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

You may also like to see:-

Inland Fish, Fisheries, Fisher-folks: 2020 Overview

WFD 2019: Mass Fish Kill Incidents Due to Pollution, Dry Rivers In India

World Fisheries Day 2018: India’s Increasing Fish Kill Incidents

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