Indigenous fishes disappearing fast from Old Brahmaputra | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 09, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 09, 2012

Indigenous fishes disappearing fast from Old Brahmaputra

The indigenous fish species have rapidly been disappearing in the downstream of the Old Brahmaputra River due to poor water flow and over exploitation of fishes.
Banabashi Barman, a fisherman of Darigaon in Kuliarchar upazila who has been catching fish from the river for the last 20 years, said once the downstream of the Old Brahmaputra abounded with plenty of fishes and many fisherman families depended on the river to earn a living.
“But, nowadays the fisherman community in the river basin has been passing hard time for lack of fish in the river. So, many of them have been compelled to change their traditional fishing occupation,” he said.
Debashish, 60, an elderly fisherman, said they could catch a huge amount of fishes from the river in the monsoon barely 8-10 years ago. But we had very poor catches in the river this monsoon, he lamented.
“We saw sada pani (clean water) during the monsoon. After a whole day of fishing, I could catch only half a kilogram of small fishes,” he told this correspondent.
Debashish said some species -- gutum, korika, boal, puti, ghora mukhya, nandil, kulsa, bhorkhol, tengra and kajuli, torrent catfish, tengra, chhoto koi and tila shol -- were plentifully available in the river just five years ago. “But, now all the species are on the verge of extinction.”
He also said, some species -- mola, chela, darkina, pathorchata, joiya, ghora machh, baitka and mohashol -- are rarely found in the river nowadays.
Zillur Rahman, who was catching fish in the Jhira Nadi, a tributary of the Old Brahmaputra, amid heavy downpour, said people caught big fishes like boal, shoal, katla and chital during monsoon in the past, but no big fish was found this year.
“The river was full of fishes only five years back. Local people had been dependent on the river to meet their fish requirement and for livelihood. But, we find very poor quantity of fish now".
Locals said the river saw a rapid decline in fishes in the last one decade due to drying up of the river, frequent and indiscriminate use of pesticides and insecticides in agricultural land and change of the river direction.
According to the Department of Fisheries, at least 28 species of indigenous fish have already been disappeared while 10 percent of the 260 remaining categories are now endangered.

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