Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

WFD 2022: Protect Aquatic Biodiversity for Fish to prosper

(Feature image: Fish species caught in small Ramganga stream in Pauri Garhwal. Bhim Singh Rawat/SANDRP)

On the occasion of World Fisheries Day (WFD) 2022, this report by SANDRP tracks developments related to aquatic biodiversity in India over the last year.  The first, second, third and fourth parts of the WFD 2022 reports covered positive reports on rivers’ fish and fishermen; mass fish deaths in rivers and emerging threats; mass fish kills in lakes, ponds in the country and issues concerning rights & livelihoods of inland & coastal fishers reported during the past one year.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 211122: IRF focus on Rivers as waterways as the World celebrates Fisheries Day

As the World Celebrates Fisheries day today, the India Rivers Forum (IRF) focusses this week on use of Rivers as waterways in its annual program. Spread over five sessions, the online event on Nov 26-27, 2022 is co-organised by Manthan Adhyayan Kendra and IRF. Riverine fisheries and fisherfolk are adversely affected by the current waterways program of the government, and as usual, the government does not even find it necessary to assess the impact of the program on these poorest, weakest, most neglected and most vulnerable section of our population, leave aside the question of compensating them or involving them in the program. The IRF program “Rivers as Waterways in India: Bane or Boon?” will highlight this and many other aspects of the waterways initiative of the government, which aims to include 111 rivers across the length and breadth of the countries.

The five sessions of the IRF program will be titled: “Overview of Indian Inland Waterways”, “Viability of Indian Inland Waterways”, “Impacts of Indian Waterways”, “Governance of Indian Waterways” and “Rivers as Waterways in India: Bane or Boon?”. The two event will have more than 25 speakers. The final session will be chaired by former judge of Supreme Court of India, Justice (Retired) Madan Lokur. Justice Lokur will also give away the Bhagirath Prayas Samman awards of 2022 and Anupam Mishra Medal 2022, the names of the recipients this year will be shared in that final session on Nov 27, 2022.

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Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

WFD 2022: Inland, Coastal Fisherfolks’ Struggle Amid Hostile Climate

(Feature Image: Over the years in the Panzath village, it has emerged sort of a festival. Residents said the tradition started by their ancestors has helped them keep the water body in order, clean and healthy. Image: Aaquib Gull/ Kashmir Life)

On the occasion of World Fisheries Day (WFD) 2022, this report highlights the ongoing struggle of inland and coastal fishers amid adversarial governments and changing climate. It first tracks some positive developments and then moves on to document important issues concerning the fisher communities in India. The first, second and third part of the WFD 2022 reports covered positive reports on rivers’ fish and fishermen; mass fish deaths in rivers and emerging threats; and mass fish kills in lakes and ponds in the country reported during the past one year. The fifth and last part on the series would highlight issues concerning aquatic bio-diversity in the country.    

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Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

WFD 2022: Mass Fish Deaths in Lakes, Ponds in India

(Feature Image: Workers remove the dead fish at the regulatory end of Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on July 23, 2022. Express photo)

On the occasion of World Fisheries Day (WFD) 2022, we here highlight the mass fish death incidents India in inland water bodies including lakes and ponds over the last one year. The first part of this series on WFD 2022 covered the positive stories of rivers’ fish and fishermen; the second part tracked critical issues affecting rivers’ fish and fishermen. The fourth part would focus on worsening plight but ongoing struggle of coastal and inland fisherfolks. The fifth and last part on the series would highlight issues concerning aquatic bio-diversity in the country.    

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Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

WFD 2022: River Pollution Killing Fish En-Masse; New Threats to river fish

On the occasion of World Fisheries Day (WFD) 2022, this second report is on the mass fish death incidents in Indian rivers and wetlands during last year. It also presents critical reports concerning emerging threats of invasive fish, riverbed mining, pollution, encroachments, microplastic affecting rivers’ fish and fishers. The first part containing positive stories on the issue can be seen here. The third part would highlight mass fish death incidents in inland water bodies including lakes and ponds and the fourth part would cover the ongoing struggle of coastal fisherfolks and related issues. The fifth and last part on the series would highlight issues concerning aquatic bio-diversity in the country.     

Continue reading WFD 2022: River Pollution Killing Fish En-Masse; New Threats to river fish
Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

WFD 2022: Positive River Fisheries Reports from India & Dam Removal Abroad

(Feature Image: Govindamma (extreme left) fishing for prawns in Kosasthalaiyar river with others from her Irular community. They wade through the water for 2-4 kms to catch them. Credit: People’s Archive for Rural India (PARI))

On the occasion of World Fisheries Day (WFD) 2022, this report by SANDRP tracks some positive stories on river fish and fisher in India & Dam removal action abroad. In subsequent part on this occasion, the mass fish death incidents in Indian rivers, wetlands, lakes would be covered along with updates on emerging threats of invasive fish, riverbed mining, pollution, encroachments, microplastic over the past one year. The third part would cover the mass fish death incidents in lakes and ponds in India and the fourth part would focus on continuing struggle of coastal fisherfolks and relevant issues.  The fifth and last part on the series would highlight issues concerning aquatic bio-diversity in the country.   

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Hydropower Performance

INDIA’S HYDRO GENERATION CONTRIBUTION AROUND 10% for SIX YEARS

In last six years, from 2016-17 to 2021-22, India’s Large Hydropower projects (projects above 25 MW installed capacity) have contributed just around 10% of the total power generation, going as low as 9.68% in 2017-18. In fact, in three of these six years, large hydro contributed less than 10% and recovering only marginally in the rest, thanks to surplus monsoon.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 14 Nov 2022: Jal Shakti Ministry says: Groundwater extraction down, recharge up???

(Feature Image: The report also states that the monitoring of the groundwater resources was affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. Source: Bloomberg/TIE)

This sounds so counter intuitive. The Ministry Jal Shakti on Nov 9, 2022 made some findings of its latest “National Compilation on Dynamic Ground Water Resources of India, 2022 public, strangely, without making the report public. It is not clear why the govt did not make the report public, though the counter intuitive nature of the findings provide some hint. The report claims that at all India macro level, the ministry claimed that the groundwater extraction is the lowest in 2022 since 2004, or 18 years and that the groundwater recharge has gone up.

These are counter intuitive findings, even if at macro level for a number of reasons. It is also unclear what methodology is used to arrive at these conclusions and if there has been any independent scrutiny of the same. Since groundwater extraction has been going up for over six decades now, this reversal will need plausible reasons. There are no indications that there is any reduction in this groundwater use. Secondly, the groundwater recharge mechanisms are under attack all over India, and thus the finding that there is increase in recharge raises questions. Particularly since the efforts at groundwater recharge through rainwater harvesting are far from convincing.

More importantly, the real story is at micro level, since groundwater occurs in decentralised aquifers and any significant reduction in use, increase in recharge has to happen at the aquifer level and the assessment also needs to be done and made available at aquifer level for it to have any impact on future regulation of groundwater. In fact the only regulatory body working for groundwater regulation, the CGWA, works in a centralised way and its work has been far from confidence inspiring. That makes this whole findings questionable. Moreover, it would also be useful to see if the extraction has reduced in over exploited areas and if the recharge has increased where it is required most: in over exploited areas. Too many questions and no answers, unfortunately.

Continue reading DRP NB 14 Nov 2022: Jal Shakti Ministry says: Groundwater extraction down, recharge up???
Climate Change · Wetlands

Conserving wetlands to realize global climate and biodiversity goals

Guest Article by Mridhu Tandon [i]

The Sudd wetland in the Nile basin is one of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems. Nourished by the White Nile-a tributary of the Nile, Sudd is a mosaic of open water and submerged vegetation, seasonally inundated woodlands, rain-fed grasslands, and floodplain scrubland. An integral part of Africa’s largest intact savannahs-the Jonglei plains, Sudd supports the world’s second-largest mammal migration after Serengeti. An estimated 1.3 million antelope: white-eared kob, taing, and Mongalla gazelles move from Sudd every year to reach Ethiopia’s Gambella National Park. Sudd has been in the international news recently. Revival of the 40-year-old 240-mile Jonglei canal will divert the waters of the White Nile around the Sudd wetland and send it to Egypt. The canal will desiccate the wetland, and end seasonal flooding of the Jonglei grasslands. Why is it necessary to protect Sudd from drying up? Why has the subject received global attention? More generally, why protect wetlands at all?

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Hydro Disaster

Repeated Disasters at Subansiri Hydro project in 2022

(Feature Image: Massive landslide at Lower Subansiri hydro project dam site. Source North East Now 28 Oct. 2022)

Over the course of past two years, series of disasters and accidents have taken place at construction site of the controversial 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Power Project resulting in damages to project structure and death of construction workers thus raising questions over its safety and sustainability. Since 2005-06, the largest ever under-construction hydropower project is being developed by NHPLC Ltd (formerly known as the National Hydro Power Corporation Limited), a central government company in geologically fragile, seismically vulnerable and biodiversity rich area in the face of pending judicial case[i] and very strong opposition from people across the Assam.

The latest disaster in form of a massive landslide affected the project site on October 12, 2022 further delaying the repair works which were being carried to recover damages caused by the flash floods, landslips at dam site in last week of September 2022.

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