‘Big dams have affected biodiversity’

The Assam Tribune , Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Correspondent : Shambhu Boro

NAMERI (ECO CAMP), May 25 – “Coal mining, industrialisation, oil projects and big dams have affected biodiversity and wildlife including the wild mahseers,” said noted environmentalist and director of the Wild Mahseer hatchery project in Nameri Eco-Camp along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in Sonitpur district, Dr Atul Borgohain, while speaking as a resource person in the day-long programme of ‘World Fish Migration Day’ organised by Assam, (Bhorelli) Angling and Conservation Association on Sunday here on the theme ‘Importance of protective measures specially for endangered migratory fish species’

Dr Borgohain who is a faculty member of the veterinary science department, Assam Agricultural University, further questioned that if a neighbouring country like Bhutan can construct dams on its soil leaving the wild Mahseer migration areas untouched, why cannot the same be done in Assam along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border area.

On the other hand, director, Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research Institute, Nainital, Dr Debajit Sarma in his discourse said that the World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) is a one-day global event to focus attention on open rivers and migratory fish. “By working together, under one worldwide umbrella, we can improve our impact on raising awareness/ sharing ideas/ securing commitments/ building communities. In doing so, we can ultimately create a greater driving force, which will allow for easier management/ conservation/ rehabilitation of migratory fish stocks,” Dr Sarma said adding ‘ the World Fish Migration Day is a terrific way to draw attention, not only to the significant challenges that fish face in reaching their habitats, but also to the many successes we've had in restoring their journeys. He added that migratory fish like salmon, sturgeon, giant catfish, and millions of people worldwide depend on ecologically important rivers. Unfortunately these essential lifelines are under severe threat from dams, over-fishing and pollution.

The World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) is a worldwide celebration of healthy rivers and free-running fish with over 270 events and on this day, over a thousand different organisations contribute to WFMD through support and/or participation, in over 50 countries worldwide.

The day-long programme was attended by a host of dignitaries who also later visited the local wild Mahseer hatchery at the Nameri Eco Camp and had an interaction with the local inhabitants of the nearby forest villages to pass a message on how to conserve the migratory fishes.

Earlier, in the welcome address, the secretary of the Assam, (Bhorelli) Angling and Conservation Association, highlighted that the recent interim order of the Supreme Court to ban all tourism activities in core areas of tiger reserves however needs the attention of the State Government regarding the demarcation and notification of the core and buffer zones of Nameri Tiger Reserve. “Nameri is famous over the world for its rich bird life and the golden mahseer of the Jia Bhoroli River. Bird watching, rafting, regulated angling and eco tourism efforts of our association in the area for almost two decades now, has created livelihood opportunities for the forest villagers of the area and they have now become aware of wildlife conservation concepts.” He said that the Jia Bhoroli river from Bhalukpong to Bor Dikorai Mukh and the bird watching trekking route near the Potasali anti-poaching camp across the river, be excluded from the core zone of the Nameri tiger Reserve. This move will go a long way in creating the goodwill necessary for the cooperation of all sections of people living in the area.

SOURCE : http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=may2615/state052

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