Exotic Predatory Fish Killing Native Species || LIVE IMAGE

Social media carried pictures of fish seed being poured in Baghliyar Dam reservoir by the Department of Fisheries last year. Inquiries about the species being introduced got on the expected lines no response. The purpose was to inquire whether any mandatory studies have been carried to evaluate the direct and indirect ecological impacts of such reservoirs before introducing. State has already faced a disastrous impact by the callous unscientific approach of the authorities by introducing exotic predatory species in the blue waters of the state. This wiped out almost the entire fish fauna, approximately 150 species and eliminated native biota.

Depriving affordable sources of nutrients and livelihood and affect local biodiversity bestowed upon by Nature. Almost one year detail research spot verification interaction with the cross section of the society gave anxiety moments about the approach of the concerned department. Even the Wildlife Protection Department under Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 amended 2002 which has a mandate under law to accords protection to all forms of biodiversity has been negligent towards it . 

University of Stirling, University of East Anglia, and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have carried studies on compositional changes in biological communicates, and functional connectivity between upper and lower reaches of watersheds of hydro power dams.”Loss of species was studied between less than one year and more than 90 years.

They could include “conducting wildlife inventories and environmental impact assessments before reservoir filling, creating new habitats such as wetland zones within the reservoir system, and conservation offsets such as strictly protecting land both within and surrounding reservoirs,”

Fish is not just a food that fills the stomach. For centuries, fishermen in the state have harvested it. Fish fauna is a protein rich valuable element of human diet. Fishing and Fish farming has a tremendous promising potential to play its role in supplementing the surging demand for food due to population growth. Some see it as the best hope to feed an increasingly over-populated planet. 

An avenue to supplement the income and provide meaningful employment to weaker sections of the society as Kashmir province is cent per cent fish eaters. While worldwide fish production and consumption is touching high with every passing year, the state is on a line in availability and consumption of fish. India has set target to double per capita availability of 15 kg of fish by 2020 consumption.

Despite the Fact State has enormous resources to be one in fish production in north India. Within reach of a commoner in plentiful at an affordable cost. Fish is imported Instead of export. Every day a large number of Trucks loaded with fish are brought in from neighbouring states to meet the demand. Mighty rivers Jehlum, Sindh, Chenab, Ravi, its numerous tributaries, dozens of Tawis in Jammu province such as Tawi of Poonch, Tawi of Rajouri, Tawi of Akhnoor and Tawi of Jammu also.

In the first instance we have Tawi as the ancient name of Poonch river. Rajouri Tawi ,Munawar Tawi ,Bharakh Tawi to mention a few . Famous Lakes, wetlands the fish stock had dewinled to a bare manimum. Readers may like to know Mangla Dam at Mirur on river Jehlum is producing Mahaseer to its optimum capacity it reaches up to uri even beside other connecting river lines. In 2010, the Poonch river , its tributaries and their beds were designated as Poonch Mahasheer National Park, -- a hatchery for the Golden Mahasheer fish in Murli Nullah near Kotli Conservationists . 

Mahasheer is the largest fresh water fish on earth found in many of the rivers originating from Himalayas culinary experts believe it is the best tasting one. Jehlum had its own specie of Mahasheer.

There are half a dozen Dams and barrages yet Fish stocks are a wishful desire, Ranjit Sagar Dam where stae has 65% share of water sheet, it is whisked away by Panjab in connivance. Unlike Green Revolution and operation white flood which had inherited limitation due to constrain of land and scarcity of fodder, state has no such constrains whatsoever. For tapping all season unhampered fish harvesting avenues. 

Its natural riverine in the forms of rivers, reservoirs, lakes and ponds, streams and flood plains, wetland fish species provide ideal environment opportunities to thrive. In all the three agro-climatic zones, from tropical Jammu division, temperate Kashmir valley and cold arid zone of Ladakh. These waters possess great potential for development of varied types of fisheries like cold water fisheries, warm water fisheries, sport fisheries, reservoir fisheries etc.

Operation Blue Waters is need of the hour. State of Jammu and Kashmir has been known and admired for its rich diversity of Fish. State is known to harbour about 175 indigenous species. Valley is said to have has about 42 species of its own .

There are about 39 kashmiri names for the local fish in kashmiri. Nine native species of trout found in Gilgit Baltistan in a recent survey. And jammu dTivision has about 125 species of its own. Kashmir water abounds with the below listed varieties of fish. 

1) Charri Gad, 

2) Kront Gad, 

3) Pekri Gad, 

4) Sattar Gad,

 5) Ail Gad, 

6) Das, 

7)Tet or Tetur 


9) Chas Gad, 

10) Ramh Gad, 

11) Unyour Gad,

 Fish at serial Nos,1,4,2,9,8, usually weigh about half seer. Those at serial Nos 5,610, 7 and 11 are small types and do not weigh more than 1-2 chitaks. Pekri Gad is the largest and the heaviest and weighs anything from 8 -16 seers a piece. Tet Gad when very small is called as Tet Gordu. All the fish are found in the Jhelum waters. The Parim Gad or Mahsir is usually fished in summers only while the remaining varieties are found throughout the year. Gurran is the smallest variety if fish found in various streams and morasses. Chari Gad and Ail variety are found in Dal waters. 

All small types are fished by hook, the heavier ones by net. Wullar Lake and Sindh River has plenty of Chari, Sattar and Chas types. Pekri Gad is frequently caught by spearing. The tamed fish of springs in Mattan and Verinag are referred to as Nag Gad without any distinction of their species. Fishermen using net are called Zail Haenz and those who use hook and line are called Wail Haenz. Sometimes the line extends as far as 1000 yards with hooks attached at intervals of a yard or so. 

During winter catching worms are usually used as baits but in summer mostly it is the barley flour balls.
According to Vigne Kashmir has a fish he termed as Himalayan Trout but it is unlike the true trout of Europe. The Himalayan Trout is sluggish to fly and rarely rises above water. Fish from the river are considered better than those which inhabit the lakes. However, fish from springs is sacred and forbidden for eating. 

A white mullet of India has been reported to abound the waters in Zynagir Karewah. Vigne also mentions the presence of great many fish in Kishanganga river. However, the variety of Roe from this river is considered poisonous and he has recorded that one of his servants who consumed this fish fell alarmingly sick. Lastly there is another type of fish native to Kashmir called Aniur. 

It is similar to American cat-fish. Cardinal blunders by the department have almost wiped out indigenous species or considerably reduced the number. Introduction of exotic species fast growing species, common carp cyprinus carpo caused sharp decline Scale carp, mirror carp and leather carp in 1956 has wiped out indigenous Schizothoracine fish Grass carp silver carp loss of diversity. 

Although the Department has grown both horizontal and vertical too phenomenally. But its deliverance proved an utter depressing in geometrical progression. Lack of vision, about Fishing and Fish farming, political will has killed in degrees the potential of blue waters. Department of Fisheries has established plus 63 Fish Farms and rearing units. Except one little farm on stream Anji at Sula, Reasi Anji for Mahasheer, not a single local species numbering 175 has been protected and developed. Out of 63 Fish farms 42 are for Trout which is a sport fish other are Exotic Fish. 

Out of which Trout Farms are numbering 42 valley has 33 falls, 4 in Leh Division and 5 in jammu division. Break up arrived at is as Anatnag-9,Baramullah-4,Bandipora -3,Ganderbal-2,Kupwara-3,Kulgam-4,Pulwama-2,Srinager-2 and Shopian-2.Beside under Crap development there are about 19 units.Baramula, Srinager,Badgam,Pulwama, Bandipora has one each. Kupwara has 2 unitsLeh division has 2 units while Kathua,Ramban,Rajouri,Samba,Poonch has one unit each while as jammu has 3 and Reasi.Mansabal 2.Manasbal and Kathua has two National Fish Farm. All these farms except one at Anji Reasi where local Mahasherr seed id produced.

Rest all others indulge in exotic ones .Barring Trout, others proved detrimental of our local species.
Foster who visited the valley in 1763 found inhabitants used it extensively in dietary items. Dr Adams refers in 1854 to a regular fish market in Srinagar. Richness and diversity of fish in the valley has been intensive scientific investigation. Some species found here were new to scientists. Although Day(1876a&, 1876b) is credited to have detailed surveys of fish in the state .There is ample undisputed reference of work carried much before him.Hechel mentioned as far back 1838 about sixteen species described new to science in Kashmir. Which he upgraded with a minor changes in 1844.McCclelland 1839, commented on Hechels species of Kashmir.Ichthyo fauna of Kashmir classified by Stein Dancher ,1866, Gunther ,1868, Chuadri 1949 and Hora and Silas 1852a &b. Several references are of Ross 1916 ,Michel 1918, . 

Every was taken not to introduce any alien species. But to preserve local species .Which will prove detrimental to local ones or not compatible with what nature has bestowed here? Called natural selection. Except Trout in cold waters of Kashmir in 1900AD. a few years later in privacy British introduced American Cyprinoo Ganibusia affinis holbro Girad at Khadanyar Baramullah Trout after a number of failure succeeded to hatch at Harwan by Mr Frank Mitchell.Ova was. 

Trout was allowed to be introduced on the request by the British Government. Who were Trout Angling will allow them to add more fun. English brown approach by his subjects to utilize Holidays in Kashmir apart from Hunting sports, Day(1876 &, Owing to successful, introduction and subsequent establishment of trout in the valley of Kashmir in 1900 AD, the Department of Fisheries was created in 1903 AD and was known as Department of Game Preservation .Every care was taken not to introduce any alien species. 

Which will prove detrimental to local ones or not compatible with what nature has bestowed here?. Except Trout in cold waters of Kashmir in 1900AD. a few years later in privacy British introduced American Cyprinoo Ganibusia affinis holbro Girad at Khadanyar Baramullah . 

 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
(Feedback at: blparimoo@gmail.com)


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