Rs170m fish conservation project launched
By Khalid Hasnain
LAHORE: The Punjab Fisheries Department has launched a Rs170 million project at Chashma Barrage in Mianwali district for the conservation of 63 fish species.
A department official says the core objective of the project entitled “Development of Fish Biodiversity at Chashma Barrage” is to sustain all 63 fish specifies of Chashma Lake and stock seed of various species after breeding.
“Chashma Lake is the most important place having suitable environment with reference to fish production and breeding. It covers an area of almost 150 square kilometres with 22 to 22 feet depth. It means it’s the best place for qualitative as well as quantitative fish production,” department’s project manager Iftikhar Ahmad told Dawn.
He said the department was trying to eliminate illegal hunting and conserve Soal, Singgari, Rahu, Mori, Shermahi, Khagga, Gulfam, Mulli and Bam species. “We have appointed officials equipped with weapons at three checkpoints and purchased two boats to patrol Chashma Lake to curb illegal hunting. In addition, the department has provided cell phones to patrol officials,” he added.
Talking about awareness about latest techniques to get good quality fish, he said the department would educate fishermen about suitable time, temperature, use of fishnets and other important measures to have good quality fish. The project management would ensure provision of ice boxes and proper fish landing spots or jetties at various points at the lake.
He said the department had started hydrographic study and ecological survey for environmental assessment of lake’s potential about production and conservation of fish species. “We have to sustain the fish productively up to maximum level by having regular check on number of fish species, their internal linkages, suitability of environment, breeding and stock assessment according to fish sort,” Iftikhar said.
Taking about challenges of fish production, he said climate change, long dry spells and pollution adversely affected fish production in Pakistan. Â“Though we are gradually losing fish species due to rapid changes in our climate, the present weather has provided suitable environment for fish to breed massively,” he said.
Commenting on the project, the first-ever in Pakistan, department’s director general Dr Muhammad Ayub described it as a milestone to boost fish production in Punjab.