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“Ganga sees fall in catch of fishes like Rohu, Hilsa” by B.K. Mishra, Times of India

Mishra, B.K. “Ganga sees fall in catch of fishes like Rohu, Hilsa.” The Times of India. 19 September 2011.

Ganga sees fall in catch of fishes like Rohu, Hilsa

By B.K. Mishra

September 19, 2011

PATNA: The state capital is situated on the bank of Ganga but its residents have to consume fishes imported from Andhra Pradesh. With the rapid decline in catch of all the major commercially important fishes in Ganga, local fishermen are finding it very difficult to cater to the needs of the local population.

Fishes like Rohu, Catla, Hilsa, Jasar and Mrigal (Naini) have become a rare commodity in the Ganga. Jasar, Pangas and prawns are also on verge of extinction. According to a 65-year-old fisherman of Patna, Raju, till 35 years back, fishermen here used to catch enough big fishes, even up to 20-25 kilograms, in the middle of the Ganga, fetching good money to them. But, at present, such a big catch is enough to make news in the city’s fish market.

Scientists believe that increasing pollution, change in river flow due to extraction of water and construction of dams and barrages are major factors responsible for the decline in fish population in the river. More than 100 cities are discharging sewage into it and extensive farming in the river basin contributes agrochemicals like fertilizers and pesticides to the river system. It is estimated that on account of agriculture, about 134.8 million cubic metre waste gets discharged into the Ganga basin. This strongly affects all aquatic life.

Central University of Bihar (CUB) environmental science professor and National Ganga River Basin Authority member R K Sinha says, “The spawning grounds of fishes have been reduced considerably due to changes in river morphology. The flow caused by water extraction, siltation and decrease in flood plain area has reduced the fish yield. Low water in the river fails to inundate the surrounding low-lying areas, the breeding ground for fishes, mainly major carps. Deep water, which provides shelter to brood fishes, has also shrunk considerably due to water scarcity and siltation in almost entire stretch of the river.”

After commissioning of Farakka barrage on Ganga in 1975, the catch of Hilsa, regarded as Indian Salmon, in the upper stretches has gone down drastically due to blockade of its migratory route. At Buxar, further upstream, there has been a 98.12% reduction in Hilsa catch between pre-Farakka and post-Farakka period. In the absence of effective fish ladder, Hilsa and other migratory fishes are unable to cross the obstructing barrage.

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Genre: Environmental Issues Articles, Hydropower Dams & Water Diversions Articles
Subjects: Environmental Issues, Hydropower Dams & Water Diversions