Study & Conservation of Fish Diversity in Brahmaputra River inside Assam . . . .
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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. 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 had undertaken an ambitious project to study the current status and conservation of the fish diversity in the Brahmaputra River main drainage inside Assam. This was 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.