Srinagar: Fish species are declining in Jammu and Kashmir as out of thirteen local species, eight have got extinct while two among the five available fish species are also waning.
Experts have warned of extinction of remaining fish species very soon if proper steps are not taken well on time.
Dr Imtiaz Ahmed Khan, a well-known ichthyologist and Senior Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of Kashmir while talking to Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that out of 13 Schizothorax (Kaeshir Gaed), eight species became extinct very early and among five species left out, the number of two is declining at present.
He said that out of five species mainly found in river Jhelum, the number of two species is declining. He said that two carp species mainly found in stagnant water Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) and Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella) are also a threat to the existing species because of their abundance.
He said the license holders who have been permitted to catch fish are also not following the fishery code of conduct.
Moreover, the construction of dams due to which the fish are unable to migrate is also disturbing their number, he said, adding that there is a need to aware people and encourage them towards aquaculture and stop polluting water bodies.
Dr Imtiaz Ahmed Khan further stated that January-April is breeding time for fish and catching them in this period must be banned so that their number can increase and not face any threat of extinction.
“Illegal poaching, nets and chemicals being used by local fishermen is endangering aquatic life and no one is bothered to look into the matter,” another expert said, adding that steps must be taken to save the fish species.
He said that growing water pollution is posing a serious threat to the existence of indigenous fish species in Kashmir. “For the last few years, the production of Schizothorax (Kaeshir Gaed) has shown a steady decline in Kashmir,” he said.
“A comprehensive plan for giving a boost to the fisheries sector is needed in J&K,” he said, adding that some exotic species especially the common Carp (Cyprinus Carpio Specularis, Cyprinus Carpio Linnaeus, and Cyprinus Carpio Linnaeus and Cyprinus Carpio Ccommunis) have adopted well in Kashmir.
“The local species find it difficult to cope up with the problem of eutrophication in the water bodies,” he added.
Director Fisheries, Muhammad Amin, said that aquatic resources have to be free from pollution and encroachment so that it would be possible to save the existing species. He said that human interference has led to the decline of fish species in J&K.
“This year, we have produced about 32 tonnes of fish across Jammu and Kashmir including 20 tonnes mainly Trout in Kokernag, Asia’s largest fish farm in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district,” he said. KNO