Kerala mulls ban on river fishing in monsoon

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 16 (IANS) The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) Friday sought that the government ban flood plain fishery in the monsoon.

Between June to August, during the monsoon, the KSBB wants a complete ban on fishing of inland fish, especially in the first month of the monsoon.

During the monsoon season, when water levels in the rivers rise, fresh water fish migrate to the other water bodies for breeding and for food. Fishing during this migration is known as monsoon flood plain fishery.

A study conducted in Kannur, Wayanad, Thrissur, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta by the KSBB found that fishing at this time adversely affects fish diversity in the rivers.

According to the study, the black fish species, white fish species and mixed fish species are the ones found migrating during the early half of the monsoon.

"Fishing is like a festival in some regions and locals use different types of primitive equipment to catch fish, unknowingly killing numerous rare species," the report of the study said.

While in the past the migration of the fish occurred twice a year, this has now become a phenomenon only during the monsoon.

"As fish wealth is exploited during the breeding season, the species is affected. Even some rare kinds of frogs, tortoise and cranes are also hunted down around this time of year, which in turn affects biodiversity," KSBB secretary K.P. Laladhas explained.

The report not only recommended that the government ban monsoon floodplain fishery, but also wanted the Fisheries Department to keep a vigil in the area.

The report stated: "(The state government) should ensure that no fishing is done during this period and the migrating path of the fish, especially small tributaries joining the river, should be preserved; natural water bodies should be protected and little streams should be retained and kept clean for fish breeding."