2 mins read

No traces of Ram Gurun left in Kashmir

March 4, 2018

Srinagar, Mar 03: Once abundant in the river Jhelum and Dal Lake, BotiaBirdi, a rare species of native fish adorned with dark and light bands, is no more sighted in the Valley’s waterbodies.
Locally known as Ram Gurun, the fish species was found in abundance pre-1980s and was the unwanted catch of every fishermen due to its small size and aggressive character.
But with human interference coupled with unchecked pollution, the fish has almost vanished from valley rivers and lakes sine last one decade.
Previously only twelve specimen of this fish has been found by a researcher at Kashmir University in 2004, after which the Faculty of Fisheries SKUAST-K couldn’t trace it anywhere in the valley.
Recently Division of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Fisheries, SKUAST-K started a project to study the factors for declining of this fish.
While scientists are presently working to generate a breeding technology for its conservation, not a single fish has been found so far to start the process.
The institute recently announced a reward for every specimen of BotiaBirdi.
A population survey exercises done by the SKUAST-K on the Dal, Mansbal and Jhelum River, which were the breeding ground for BortiaBirdi, said that these water bodies have already lost this fish.
The survey indicated that the BotiaBirdi populations have declined due to a combination of overexploitation, environmental degradation and aquatic pollution.
Researchers and scholars at SKUAST-K claim that introduction of exotic non-local Carp fish in 1950 gradually led an invasion on various species of native fish including Rama Gurun.
“Actually, Carp, which is non -local fish can survive on low oxygen concentration but Rama Gurun is very sensitive. Their breeding grounds got destroyed and the result is that we today have more than 50 per cent of Carp in our lakes and river and less of our local fish,” Dr Irfan Ahmad, Head, Division of Genetics & Biotechnology Faculty of Fisheries SKUAST-K said.
He said the immense cultural eutrophication (human intervention) like use of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals also took toll on native fish.
“It is hill stream fish, which has inverted V -shaped black bands that has an ornamental value. It had a peculiar feature that it has teeth like objects near the mouth, which it uses for defense. Its decline is primarily due to the cultural eutrophication (human Interference) in water bodies,” Irfan Ahmer said.
He claimed that the region lacked regulations due to which many native species of fish are facing extinction.
“There shall be regulation that no trash fishing be allowed. Further during breeding season in March, complete ban should be enforced on fishing,” he said.
The fish as per experts has a good food value and has been ideal fish for aquarium.
It attained a max length of 15 cm and had a life span of up to 8 years
Sharing his childhood experience, Irfan Ahmad a resident of Barbarshah said that Rama Gurun would be found in abundance at TchontKol.
“It would be considered as an achievement for catching a Rama Gurun. We would shout in joy but now the stream possess even the normal fish,” he said.
Director Department of Fisheries, R N Pandita told The Kashmir Monitor that the changing climatic condition have restricted the population of various native fish.
“The snowline has declined, and water bodies have become polluted, which has declined the population of Rama Gurun. But we can’t say that they have entirely extinct from our water bodies,” he said.
Pandita said that the Department of Fisheries would take steps to rehabilitate this fish species.
“This fish has no commercial value but we have to preserve our bio diversity. We have a revised Fisheries Act rule under which we will protect this species by demarcating the areas where they will be spotted,” he said.
Pandita said that they have sent a proposal to the government for protection of the waters in Kashmir.

Discover more from The Kashmir Monitor

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Don't miss a beat! The Kashmir Monitor delivers the latest Kashmir news, sports highlights from every league, political updates, entertainment buzz, and tech innovations happening right now.

A Newspaper company in Kashmir

Leave a Reply