Jhelum fishes commit mass suicide, float to shores

Srinagar

In an explained turn of events, tons of fish in Jhelum, Kashmir’s main river, have started floating towards shores only to be picked by hundreds of people living on the two banks. The fish are not resisting and some of them seemingly are on the verge of death. It looks like a mass suicide of the main river life.

People swarming to the banks of Jehlum to see fishes floating (KL Image: Malik Kaisar)

The trend was reported by a citizen journalist who shot a small video from Nawa Kadal and put it on social website, Facebook. A man in the video says that the trend is seen almost everywhere in Jhelum and fish are literally floating to the shores. “They are not making any resistance when we are picking them up,” the unidentified man, who is picking the fish, to explain the phenomenon, to the video is saying. At many places, there were crowds assembled to witness the unprecedented event, never seen in lifetime.

“I do not know why it is happening and I do not know if it has anything to do with the quality of water,” the person said. Around him in the river are hundreds of fish and they do not go away. He said lot many people came and picked the fish and went home bags full. He said they did not ask even a question why this is happening.

Some of the LAWDA people suggested it to be outcome of soaring temperature, a situation that Kashmir is not witnessing right now. Some linked it to the global phenomenon called ‘Summer Kill” but that is also linked to the temperature.

A few years back in 2012, a similar situation had emerged in the Nigheen lake. But this is for the first time that it is happening in the river. This phenomenon is slightly better explained in stagnant water unlike rivers. throughout.

In the first week of August 2012, tens of thousands of fish were found dead, floating on the waters of the lake. The sight was terrific. Though the custodian of the twin lakes, the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) tried to play it down, there were strong calls for introspection. Some of the LAWDA people suggested it to be outcome of soaring temperature, a situation that Kashmir is not witnessing right now. Some linked it to the global phenomenon called ‘Summer Kill” but that is also linked to the temperature.

Fisheries department, then, linked the mass fish death with the “high quantity of nutrients along with flow of large quantity of untreated sewage” that results in growth of macrophytes. “When in summer high temperature spell continues, the oxidation of nutrients is also very high and brisk resulting depletion of oxygen levels in the lake. Secondly due to sudden fall in temperature some adverse effect must have been caused on the fish life,” the statement issued by the department said.

But is the same situation applicable to the Jhelum in late October 2017? Nobody knows.

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