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Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 13  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 385 - 394

The environment and fishery status of the River Ganges

K. K. Vass, S. K. Mondal, S. Samanta, V. R. Suresh and P. K. Katiha    

Abstract: This paper briefly describes the current status of ecology, fisheries and biodiversity of the River Ganges. Apart from being the original abode of the most prized Indian major carps, viz., Catla catla, Labeo rohita, Cirrhinus mrigala and Labeo calbasu, the river sustains fisheries of large catfish, mahseers, hilsa and other miscellaneous fishes. Over the years the fish catch per kilometre stretch in the river has declined significantly and species composition has changed more in favor of non major carp and miscellaneous species. It has also been observed that some exotic fishes have gained a foothold in the ecosystem at favorable stretches, where flows have drastically reduced as a result of abstraction of water from the main river. Changing hydrology, apart from deteriorating environmental conditions, has been to a large extent responsible for change in the fishery scenario in the river. This change has also affected the income levels of riparian fishers. Review of the data generated, over the years, also indicated deteriorating water quality at the stressed sites. The contamination of river water, sediments and fish with heavy metal and pesticide residues is also a factor of concern. With continued stress on the river system an environmental restoration plan was launched by the Indian authorities; its impacts over the years on ecosystem health is also discussed.

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