Ganga is the mother of all fresh water fishes and greatest source of natural germplasm. If timely measures are not initiated for its conservation, life of many aquatic species would be threatened, KK Vass, senior scientist of the Central Inland Fishery Research Institute, Barrackpore said on Wednesday.
He was delivering the keynote address at the technical session of the first world meet on Ganga on the campus of Science College. He also discussed the management of fishery and status of Hilsa fishery in Hooghly estuary. Over 30 research reports from scientists of India and foreign countries were presented on the second day of the conference.
Presenting his paper, another scientist of Sustainable Aquaculture and Fishery, New Delhi, PV Dehadrai stated that adverse ecological condition in Ganga had affected fish landings at Kanpur, Allahabad, Buxar, Patna, Bhagalpur and Kolkata. He said riverine fisher folk have been the poorest of the lot and they have been denied a fair deal. Stressing no need to improving the condition of fishermen, he asked the banks to offer micro-credit to them through non-governmental organizations.
Italian fish resource scientist associated with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations G Marmulla said changes in the aquatic ecosystem due to human activities like damming for irrigation and hydro- power production have led to major modifications in inland water habitat with marked repercussions on fish stocks. Speaking on impact of anthropogenic stress on rare ornamental fishes, T K Shrestha of Tribhuvan University, Nepal, said dams and reservoirs had drastically changed fish habitat and blocked both up river and down river migration of Himalayan fishes including Mahseers, and Snow trout species.
Addressing the seminar, scientist of Animal Sciences Institute, Pakistan, N Akhtar, said the Indus river system considered as the lifeline of Pakistan is cradle not only to some living fossil fishes but also blind dolphins of the Indus. He said recent global climatic changes had resulted in shortage of water in the river and thus affected the habitat of aquatic life.
Canadian scientist M Munawwar dealt on global threats to aquatic species in the North American Great Lakes. Others who presented their papers included P Nautiyal of Garhwal University, Srinagar, SS Ladhar of Chandigarh, BM Kurup of School of Industrial Fisheries, Cochin and MK Das of Central Inland Fishery Research Institute, Barrackpore.