MP: Mahseer fish facing existential threat; state to start conservation campaign from next month
Some other dams have also been built on the tributaries of Narmada, they said.Asked about the Mahseer fish facing existential crisis following the construction of reservoirs, MP Fishermen Welfare and Fisheries Development Departments principal secretary Kalpana Shrivastava said dams are also necessary like Mahaseer. Under the Mukhyamantri Matsya Vikas Yojana, a programme to increase the Mahseer fish in the state is going to start from next month, she said.
The existence of Mahseer fish, popularly known as the tiger of freshwater, is under threat following increasing hindrances in the Narmada river's natural flow after the construction of various dams on it, a conservation expert said on Sunday. Taking cognisance of it, the Madhya Pradesh government has announced that it is going to start a campaign from next month to save the endangered Mahseer fish species.
The Narmada river originates from Amarkantak and falls into the Gulf of Khambhat.
Dr Shriparna Saxena, an aquaculture expert working in coordination with the forest department for two decades for the conservation of Mahseer, told PTI that a survey conducted in 1964 had showed there used to be 25 Mahseer out of every 100 fish in the Narmada river. But due to the construction of many dams across the Narmada river and its tributaries and human intervention, the number of Mahseer in the Narmada has now decreased to less than one per cent, she claimed.
''Fishermen living on the Narmada river banks say if lucky, they are able to spot a Mahseer once in six months,'' she informed.
"We had found a five-feet four-inch long Mahseer weighing 17 kg in the river at Khalghat in Dhar district in 2017. We have not seen such a big fish till date," the expert said.
Officials said major dams built on the Narmada in Madhya Pradesh include the projects of Bargi, Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar and Maheshwar, while the Sardar Sarovar dam has been built on this river in Gujarat. Some other dams have also been built on the tributaries of Narmada, they said.
Asked about the Mahseer fish facing existential crisis following the construction of reservoirs, MP Fishermen Welfare and Fisheries Development Department's principal secretary Kalpana Shrivastava said ''dams are also necessary like Mahaseer.'' Under the Mukhyamantri Matsya Vikas Yojana, a programme to increase the Mahseer fish in the state is going to start from next month, she said. Shrivastava expressed hope that the programme will lead to a big rise in the number of Mahseer in the next two years.
State Fisheries Federation's Managing Director Purushottam Dhiman said that Mahseer fish seeds would be planted in Denwa, Tawa and other tributaries of the Narmada under the campaign. "It is very important to have Mahseer in the Narmada from the point of view of biodiversity. Since it is a freshwater fish, its presence in the river is itself proof that its water is pure," he said.
Dhiman said as part of steps to conserve Mahseer in the state, fishermen have been told that if this fish gets caught in their nets, then they should release it alive in the water.
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