Conservation of Fish Diversity in Brahmaputra River inside Assam
Project : “Study on the Fish diversity in Brahmaputra River inside Assam to identify the threatened species, evaluate and determine their present conservation status and needs”
The northeast region of India is known as the one of the richest area of the world in terms of bio-diversity. Being in a heavy rainfall zone and blessed with innumerable snow-fed streams and rivers, the region is well-known for fish diversity. The hill streams have poor but distinctive fish fauna, while the floodplain rivers of the region harbor over two hundred species of fish and other aquatic fauna, including the endangered freshwater dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica). The beels or the floodplain lakes, are ideal habitats for air-breathing fish and they also act as feeding and breeding grounds for riverine fish during monsoon months. This region has already been recognized as a global hot spot of freshwater fish diversity. Recently, a good number of new species have been reported from the states of northeastern India indicating the scope for exploring more on the rich icthyological diversity of the region. Earlier, ichthyology was happened to be a subject of interest for many workers in India and there were lot of publications on the subject. But gradually with the loss and shrinkage of natural water bodies all across the country, the Icthyological studies have come down significantly except a few that were also for specific local areas. However, so far the state of Assam in concerned there is not enough up-to-date information available on the current status of fish species living the waters of the state except a few references available which earlier documented some fish species found in localized areas. So as on today the icthyologists do not have the required up-to-date information about the current status of these species in the continuous habitats like Brahmaputra.
In the above context, DOLPHIN FOUNDATION has undertaken an ambitious project to study the current status and conservation of the fish diversity in the Brahmaputra River main drainage inside Assam. . This is the first project of its kind so far undertaken to study the fish diversity in the entire stretches of Brahmaputra inside Assam and to identify the threatened species, evaluate and determine their present conservation status and needs. The project is being supported by the Assam State Biodiversity Board and was launched in December 2014 starting with literature studies & identification for fish landing centers on Brahmaputra (sample sites of the study). We have completed the first round of field survey to identify the Fish Landing Centers, to understand the field conditions and to standardize the methodologies. Preliminary round of Sampling and Studying of Catches are also already underway. The project is also collecting the subsidiary information about the status of the fish species by carrying out a Questionnaire Survey among the user groups.
Scope for collaboration :
It is well known that many leading institutions and experts are involved in study of fishes in this region for a considerably long time, especially in Assam, and we understand that their valuable contributions are immensely necessary so far the conservation of the fish species and their culture is concerned. This study will be a kind of rare opportunity for all of us to improve and update our existing knowledge on the current status of the fish-fauna in Brahmaputra. Sir, we need the valuable help of other workers to make this study successful.
Initially the project invites inputs to the following areas of the study –
1. As per the protocol of the study- we are preparing a Prioritized Species List for the fishes in Brahmaputra which are now seemingly rare or absent based on the literature available online and offline. The list contains reported /published information on the researched fish species by various workers. You all are requested to give inputs of your/known works which are missing from the list. (Please send an email request to get copy of the prioritized species list)
2. We are still open to rectify/improve the line of action of the project to accommodate necessary changes as will opine by the other workers and contributors. You are therefore requested to send us your valuable opinion/suggestions from your experiences of similar works to help us fine tune the project line of action and make it more scientific and meaningful.