Projects on freshwater ecosystem are working for the conservation and protection of freshwater environment cover 7% of Small Grant Programme portfolio. The major activities of the projects consist of arranging awareness raising campaigns for community stakeholders, establishment of nature clubs and discouraging illegal fishing practices.
We have successfully completed a large number of projects. Some of our recently completed projects and components produced for them are listed below.
Project title: Studies on resource base, ecological diversity and threats to Game Fish, Mahsheer in Himalayan Foothill Rivers.
The Mahaseer fish is both a food source and a game attraction in the Himalayan Foothill Rivers. This fish species faces loss of habitat that has resulted due to human activities in waterways. The objectives of this study, carried out in 1999, were delineation of species of Mahaseer fish and their taxonomical characterisation in River Haro and Soan and allied dams in the Himalayan Foothills. The study also provides the first set of growth parameter estimates, exploitation rates and size distribution of the Mahaseer. There exists substantial data on food fish supply, projected needs for fish and threats to sustainability in various regions of the world. Communicating that information via those who help shape opinion is what will really bring home the importance of effective fishing policies. With the help of meristic counts, morphometric measurements and algometric growth ratio, the findings of this study establish that all the fish under investigation belonging to the group of Mahaseer fish which are found in Soan River, Korang River and Haro River systems belong to the precise species Tor putitora. They can survive at ambient atmospheric temperatures in Rawalpindi /Islamabad region under captivity which shows that Mahaseer can be reared in fish farms. However, careful experimentation is needed to determine the requirements of the fish for domestication. The study also found that when artificial feed was tested on the Mahaseer, the specimens showed encouraging results insofar as palatability and acceptance is concerned.
The fresh water ecosystem of Malakand River Network (MRN) is supporting a number of aquatic plants and animals. The plentiful fish resource has meant that fishing is a major source of income for many people. However, fishing activities such as involvement of recreational fishing and the use of illegal fishing techniques such as dynamites, electric currents and poison have put the fish fauna under imminent danger.
The project was aimed to maintain linkages with the communities stakeholder for the conservation of critical fish fauna and raised awareness amongst the community and school children. Linkages were established with the NGOs working for the conservation of freshwater network of Malakand Civil Division.