Poaching: prime reason for freshwater fishes’ depletion

Poaching: prime reason for freshwater fishes’ depletion
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Afra Fathima

Srinagar: The Department of fisheries carried out stocking in Dal Lake on Monday to restore the depleting fish count in the Lake, primarily, because of poaching.
Five lakh carp seeds were introduced into the waters by various officers of the Fisheries Department in the presence of BA Bhat, joint director, and MM Bazaz, Chief Project Officer, Gagribal.
“It is our job to augment fish production of any water body to increase the fishes and fisheries. To counter the decline of the fish count, the Department of Fisheries carries a regular process of stocking in Dal Lake. We stock the lake once in 12 months, as the fish breeding takes place only once a year,” said Bazaz. This is done to balance the fish count in the Dal Lake for fishermen’s benefits, he added.
The carp fishes are bred in a scientific manner at National Fish Seed Farm in Mansabal, which are later stocked into the water bodies, he said.
The common carp species is not the native of the valley and was introduced by the fisheries department in 1956. This species has been accustomed to the environment and climatic conditions of the valley since then.
The fishes in the Dal Lake have declined immensely with poaching being the prime reason. 939 registered fishermen reside along the banks of the Lake and they are allowed to fish at any time between dawn and dusk; before dawn or after dusk, the law prohibits fishing. “Many fishermen violate the rule and engage in poaching during the night by using the banned equipment, Gill nets and fixed gears, to catch fishes. These nets are hazardous to the fauna and the fishes get caught in the vertical nets laid by the fishermen. It’s a huge disaster for the traditional hardworking fishermen community,” he stated. Increasing pollution and de-weeding which causes oxygen depletion also contribute to the massive decline in carps, he added
However, the officials said they are doing their best to curb the practice of poaching by frequent checking at night.
3425 illegal nets have been confiscated during the year 2017-2018 with the compensation of Rs 0.706 lakhs against 141 cases, and around 10,000 such nets have been seized in the last two years; 101 cases have been referred to court for further proceedings, claims Bazaz.