Dimapur, October 29: Sixteen villages under Doyang Hydro-Electric Project (DHEP) have agreed in principle to ban the use of explosives and poisonous substances for fishing in Doyang Reservoir and its surrounding areas.
This resolution was adopted during a “Seminar cum Sensitization on Harmful Use of Explosives for Fishing” held on October 27 last at NEEPCO recreation hall, organised by the District Administration Wokha.
Giving the keynote address during the seminar, the Deputy Commissioner, Wokha, Dr.Manazir Jeelani Samoon, IAS, said when it comes to enforcement with regard to conservation of indigenous fish species and fish productivity, the various authorities will strictly follow the laid down regulations to curb or control any illegal activities for the welfare and benefit of the community.
Stating that concrete solution can only be brought with community participation, the DC urged all stakeholders to work together to eradicate harmful practices like use of explosives and chemicals for fishing so as to save our ecosystem.
The DC also stated that in order to improve the plight of the fishermen community, further deliberation would be held involving all affected villages, fisherman community and various departments wherein an action plan will be formulated.
He also requested the NEEPCO officials to extend necessary help from their end for the benefit of the affected villagers.
Resource person, Divisional Forest Officer, Wokha, Zuthunglo Patton, IFS, while speaking on the use of explosives for fishing & its impact on the environment, stressed on the fact that destructive fishing practices destroy fish habitat and affects the entire aquatic ecosystem, reduces fish stock which consequently causes loss of income of fishermen/livelihood, loss of biodiversity, decrease in aesthetic value, loss of tourism opportunities, injury/loss of lives and above all detrimentally affects the longevity of the dam.
She encouraged all present to stop using explosives/poison/any other destructive practices so that the future generation can also get to enjoy as much as the present generation.
District Fishery Officer, Sentinaro, dwelled on the topic ‘Destructive Fishing Practices’ wherein she stated that various comprehensive studies over the years shows that the ichthyofauna of Doyang River system is unfortunately dwindling due to over exploitation and lack of conservational measures. Use of illegal fishing techniques is one of the main reasons for the depletion of fish germplasm resources of the adjoining rivers and the reservoir. She also added that the explosion destroys the underlying habitat that supports the fishes; re-colonization/recovery of damaged habitat is very slow and complete recovery may take several decades.
OC, Sungro, Yanbemo Shitio, also emphasized on the various laws under the Explosives/Substances Act of 1908 under Section 4/5 and 6 and Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 under Section 51 & 51 (A) and apprised the gathering about the consequences and punishments to be imposed against the defaulters.
The President, District Anglers Wokha Nagaland [DAWN], also shared his experiences and the various initiatives already being taken up by DAWN. He appealed to all the fishermen to desist from using explosives for a sustainable future.
A representative of Doyang Fisherman Union also spoke during the function after which, Thungdeno Mozhui, PD, DRDA Wokha, impressed upon the gathering that this initiative is for the betterment of the Lotha Community in general and the fishermen community in particular. She appealed to all the villagers to strictly abide by the Government rules and laws to prevent the illegal use of such explosives.
Thereafter, discussion with all the stakeholders namely Village Councils, Fishermen Union, Landowners Union, DAWN and various departments commenced during which they shared their grievances and opinion with regard to the welfare of the fishing community. They requested for subsidized fishing nets, life boats and life jackets for emergency cases and stated that for successful implementation, wide publicity with regard to the ban needs to be given in addition with surprise patrolling for checking use of explosives, checking the illegal sale of explosives and checking of market rates. After pondering on all these issues the members present adopted the resolution in principle to enforce strictly, ban on detrimental practices like use of explosives, electric currents & chemicals for fishing.
The seminar was attended by the Village Council Chairmen and representatives of the affected villages namely Ashaa, Pangti, Sungro, Sunglup, Yonchucho, Yikhum, Englan, Riphyim Old and New, Thillong, Changsu Old and New, Ekhyoyan, Ronren, Meshangphen and Aree Old including the LOU, Fishermen Union, DAWN and various departments. (Page News Service)