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| Last Updated:: 27/08/2019

Climate change will affect 150 Himalayan fish species: Study








An internal study of wildlife institute of India has revealed that climate change will affect around 150 native fish species of the Himalayan states, including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. Common snow trout, found in Himalayan region and much sought after as a food fish, alone would lose around 21% of its existing space of 16,251 square kilometres.




Scientists say that “continuous stalking of natural habitat by human being” is one major factor that is adding upon the miseries of Himalayan fishes. Other factors include pollution, global warming, the damming of rivers and introduction of exotic fish.




Brown trout, an invasive fish species, which was introduced in the Himalayas in 1860 by the British, has also emerged as a major threat to native fish species.




Dr Vineet Dubey, project scientist, wildlife institute of India, said, “Brown trout is a gift of the British to us. They introduced it in Jammu and Kashmir in 1860 for enjoying their fishing sport and also to add one more delicacy for their taste buds. However, it has turned out to be a major threat to the common snow trout and around 150 Himalayan fish species.”




The invasive breed is found at a high altitude in cold water rivers and is carnivorous whereas the native common snow trout is found in cool water in the mid-altitude rivers of the Himalayas and is herbivorous.




“The rising temperature would push the native fishes to move upwards in search of comfort, which is where the conflict will arise among Himalayan fishes and brown trout. And the carnivorous fish would dominate the Himalayan rivers,” said K Sivakumar, senior scientist and professor, department of endangered species management, wildlife institute of India.






Source: The Times of India, 27 August 2019, Chennai.