In the wake of recent fish stress and mortality along a particular stretch of River Jhelum, the Minister for Fisheries, Animal and Sheep Husbandry, Abdul Gani Kohli today said that detailed examination suggested it happened due to lack of oxygen.
He said after it was reported by the local staff of the Department that fish are in distress and coming to the surface in a particular stretch of river Jhelum from Gow Kadal to Weir Chattabal, in Kashmir Valley, a technical team under the supervision of Assistant Director Fisheries Srinagar was deputed in the area to ascertain the cause.
He said the Director Fisheries, Kashmir, along with Joint Director Fisheries Kashmir Division also visited the area to have firsthand information.
Kohli said that the fishes were physically examined on spot and it was seen that the fish were in distress. Accordingly, he said, samples of water and fish were taken as per procedure for detailed Physico-chemical analysis.
“Lack of oxygen was cited as the reason in the water column and the mortality was negligible,” Kohli said while quoting the examination report. He said the observation regarding low oxygen level was supported by the fact that mostly big sized schizothorax spp was showing such distress. He said that fish fauna of river Jhelum mostly constitute of two species of fish that are common carp and schizothorax spp, out of which schizothorax being very sensitive to low oxygen level and common carp can sustain low oxygen levels.
The Minister said that the fact of depletion of oxygen level was also supported by the observations that common carp has not suffered such distress or mortality.
The Minister said that the team has observed the reason of depletion in oxygen as the running water volume of river Jhelum is reduced at this time because there were no rains and also nutrient/pollutant concentration is very high, which has already affected the amount of dissolved oxygen.
To reverse the effect, Kohli said, the matter was brought to the notice of District administration and they were asked that at first instance the water gate at Weir Chattabal be opened which will allow the flow of more fresh water from upper Jhelum and dilute the nutrient load of the river. He said the District Development Commissioner Srinagar has done an appreciable job and immediately directed for the same which has eased the situation and by today morning the situation has totally improved and was normal.
The Minister said that it is apparent that there is no use of any poisonous substance and the same thing was also communicated to the District Development Commissioner, Srinagar.
Kohli further said that the Senior Project Officer of Survey Division of Fisheries Department has been assigned to prepare a detailed report depicting the physico-chemical parameters of water as well as fish. He said the matter has also been discussed with Head of Fisheries Division SKUAST Rangil who has asked his scientists to co-operate with Fisheries Department to undertake a proper analysis of the facts.