Kashmir Indepth

Kashmir sees decline in native fish species

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar Sep 08 (KINS): The indigenous fish breed has been waning in Kashmir with experts saying lack of research and growing pollution are the main reasons for native species decline.

As per a government document, the indigenous fish species of Kashmir have shown sharp decline with the result some of them have become “endangered and threatened”.

The major fish fauna of Kashmir water bodies comprise of exotic carp (Cyprinus carpio) and indigenous Schizothorax species. However, the indigenous fish species Schizothorax have shown decline in production.

“This local species, which is cold and clean water loving, finds it difficult to cope up with the problem of eutrophication in water bodies,” an official at the Fisheries Department told news agency KINS.

The government document says that some exotics, especially the common carp (Cyprinus, Caripiovar, Specularis, and Cyprinus Caripiovar, Communis) have adopted well in Kashmir and are the most suitable cultivable fish species.

Tahir Ahmad, a researcher gives varied reasons for decline in native fish species.

He said, “We have not done much research on local breeds unlike exotic species whose production is increasing. We don’t have the technology to know how to increase the production of local breeds. The indigenous species have not adopted culture well here.”

He however said the Fisheries Department has no data available about the number of indigenous fish in water bodies of Kashmir.

“Fish species have also been affected due to growing pollution in water bodies,” he added.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Fisheries Department said they have submitted a report to the government on fish production in Kashmir. “We have mentioned what are the constraints we are facing in Kashmir to increase indigenous fish production and what needs to be done,” the official said.

The government document says that aquatic resources have to be free from pollution, encroachment, and from the invasive fish species.

“A comprehensive plan for giving the boost to the fisheries sector is needed in the state,” it added.

The total fish production of 19850 tons of JK forms less than 1 percent of the country’s fish production.

JK is importing 11000 quintals of fish annually to meet the needs of the Union Territory.

The total fish demand of JK is 163136.97 tonnes but Jammu and Kashmir is deficient of 143286.97 tonnes in fish production. (KINS)

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