Beas · Fish · Fish Sanctuaries

Beas Dolphins: A Flash Of Fin, A Glimmer Of Hope

Above: A female Platanista gangetica minor breaks the surface of the Beas (Photo by Arati Kumar Rao)

India’s few remaining Indus river dolphins are confined to one short, beautiful stretch of the Beas. They have a fighting chance at survival only if we ensure a healthy river

Guest Blog by Arati Kumar Rao

A dark shape cleaves the Beas river, leaving a long wake in its trail. From the way it moves, it is neither a human, nor fish, nor even a river dolphin. The shape swims strongly, shrugging off the strong current. It holds its line and makes straight for a sandbar, hauling itself up on a buff-coloured spit.

A black dog, probably feral. It shakes itself free of water and, running across the sand, begins tugging at the beached carcass of a cow. Another bigger dog appears out of nowhere, and the two begin to snarl and gorge, yanking and tearing flesh off the arcing ribs.

River sandbars contain multitudes. I was upstream of Harike, the largest wetland in north India. The critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the fish-eating, long-snouted crocodilian, of which no more than a few hundred survive in the world, bask and nest on these sandbars. Freshwater turtles like the red-crowned roofed turtle (Batagur kachuga) and the Indian narrow-headed soft-shell turtle (Chitra indica), among the most endangered of freshwater species, use sand islands extensively to breed and to bask. Hundreds of thousands of birds — some transient visitors from China and Siberia and Central Asia wintering here, some resident — forage, nest, breed, raise chicks. Many of these creatures have this in common – they are all threatened, to greater or lesser degree.

The sight of predatory, feral dogs in this delicate ecosystem comes with chilling implications. Continue reading “Beas Dolphins: A Flash Of Fin, A Glimmer Of Hope”

Bangladesh · Fish · Rivers

Fisher-people lead Save Mathabhanga & Churni River Campaign in W Bengal

On 10th April 2018 around 500 fishers assembled at Majhdia, a town bordering Bangladesh in the district of Nadia (W Bengal), to publicly voice their protest against killing of rivers Mathabhanga and Churni. Majhdia town reverberated with the slogan Save River, Save Fish, Save Fisher People! Continue reading “Fisher-people lead Save Mathabhanga & Churni River Campaign in W Bengal”

Dams · Fish

Sushri Uma Bhartiji: Hilsa, Fisherfolk and Ganga deserve more than promise of a Fish Ladder by CIFRI!

On the 3rd of August 2016, Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti ji made some interesting remarks in her answer to a question about impact of Ganga Waterways Project on Biodiversity (Please see SANDRP’s detailed report on the same issue here). Her brief speech can be seen here: https://youtu.be/ohEOMfay71I

Uma
Courtesy: Asianetnews.tv

Unfortunately, while she talked at length about pollution issues, Delhi Government’s non-cooperation with the Center, etc, she had nothing substantial to say about the impact of dredging, water traffic, etc., on more than 1000 kilometers of Ganga flowing through several protected areas and fish habitats. Continue reading “Sushri Uma Bhartiji: Hilsa, Fisherfolk and Ganga deserve more than promise of a Fish Ladder by CIFRI!”