Dams, Climate Change A Threat To Snow Trout Fish In Himalayan Rivers

Dharamshala: Scientists from Indian Wildlife Institute, WII, have expressed their apprehension that the effects of global warming are being noticed in cold water fishes in Himalayan rivers.

According to the scientists, the fish living in cold water would shift to higher reaches of the river in the summer so that they can survive in their comfort zone as the environment undergoes change because of Global warming.

In a research paper presented at the Wildlife Institute of India, Ms Aashna Sharma, Senior Research Fellow of WII finds, “due to the formation of dams on almost all  the Himalayan rivers, these fishes  are  unable to shift  in  the upper area during summer, because of which these water creatures are unable to save themselves in the summer season.”

Talking to this reporter Ms Sharma, who hails from Dharamshala said that this research was focused on the snow trout fish of the Himalayas and it is  found these special high altitude fishes  are surviving nicely in their natural  habitat in the rivers on which the dams are not built, like the Tirthan river of Himachal Pradesh. She added that similarly  Mahaseer is thriving on the undammed Nayar River  of Utrakhand.

Our research work indicates that, by 2050, the snow trout will vanish from 400 square kilometers of Himalayas from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh”. She said that this research was conducted with her colleague Dr. Vineet K Dubey and Scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dr. K. Sivakumar and Dr. J.A.Johnson. This investigation was made with the help of algorithms designed by a European Scientist, Dr. Wilfried Thuiller.

She  said that there should be a way for fishes to pass to the upper areas through  the Dams so that such species can be saved from extinction.

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

1 Comment

  • This article contains a very important finding. I sincerely hope it shall be taken note of by the Chief Wildlife Warden and the Director Fisheries, because it shall almost certainly be ignored by the Power Deptt. All dams and hydel projects are required to install ” fish ladders” to allow the upstream movement of fish, especially for breeding purposes. But I do not think a single project has done so: they consider it a waste of water and funds. Nor is this enforced by the concerned departments. Nothing will change till one day the VIPs in Delhi and Shimla suddenly discover that there are no more trout on the dinner table! But by then it shall be too late.

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