Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, February 26, 2024

Fishes in Uttarakhand Rivers being bleached, blasted to death






A number of rivers in Uttarakhand are witnessing alleged rampant killing of fishes using inhumane practices like bleaching and explosives, even as global attention was recently focused on how the golden mahseer is being hunted in the Ramganga river leading to its numbers dwindling rapidly.


The most recent instance of rampant fish killing has been reported from Nayar river of Pauri district, where people allegedly pour bleaching powder in the water. Under the effect of the powder, the fishbecome easy prey, while the smaller fish which are not caught die a slow and painful death.


"Villagers in the area are killing big trout and mahseer on the Nayar. Although sale of pesticide bleaching powder is not permitted, it is openly sold in shops, especially in Baijro village," alleged Kuldeep Kumar, a social and wildlife activist of the area.


Locals allegedly sprinkle the powder to render fish unconscious and then scoop them out using nets. While only the big fish are taken out, smaller ones and other marine creatures which die due to the powder are left to rot in the river, which destroys the marine ecology.



The situation is similar outside Corbett, where not only locals but outsiders also hunt mahseer indiscriminately, besides the much-desired trout.



"Angling activities do not take place in the area just beyond Corbett Tiger Reserve, with the Ramganga more or less undisturbed up to a distance of 5 km from the reserve. But thereafter, thefish mafia has completely taken over an 80 km stretch of the Jurasi forest range," alleged Misty Dhillon, owner of an angling camp at Marchula.


"Upstream from where the mahseer swims for spawning, it is mercilessly killed by poisoning or explosives. Villages infamous for this are Bhikiyasale, Motiyafaale and Dandhas. Village headmen have built fish farms there. Locals too kill fish for a protein-rich diet. There is also a severe shortage of forest guards for patrolling," Dhillon added.


Narender Singh, member of NGO Rural Traveller said that besides the local people who hunt fishfor consumption, commercial fish sellers are brazenly killing marine life outside Corbett.



"It is quite weird that killing fish is forbidden in a protected area but permitted outside it. Fish do not know these boundaries and get killed. Despite written instructions, illegal mining and fishing does take place in forest areas. It is the district forest officer who is responsible for failing to do his duty regarding such matters," a senior forest official told TOI.





Source: The Times of India