BARPETA Feb 15 � The Sarukshetri Kendriya Anchalik Committee of the All Assam Students� Union has demanded a halt to illegal fishing for the conservation and production of indigenous fish.
In a memorandum to the District Fishery Development Officer, Barpeta signed by Gunajit Choudhury and Pranab Barman, president and secretary in charge respectively of the AASU Sarukshetri Kendriya Anchalik Committee, the student body expressed grave concern over the rapid depletion of indigenous fishes in the State in general and Barpeta district in particular. They blamed the avarice of some of the lessees in this respect.
The memorandum alleged that in most of the notified fisheries in the eastern part of Barpeta beel, lessees are catching fish in violation of the Fishery Act of the State. In some fisheries, fish has been caught by dewatering the beel which is illegal.
The students� body demanded immediate halt to the illegal activities and action against the erring lessees in the interest of the preservation and production of the indigenous fishes. It also threatened to start a vigorous democratic movement if the authorities concerned fail to deter such activities. The copy of the memorandum was also sent to the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Barpeta district.
Meanwhile, the DFDO, Barpeta has endorsed the legitimacy of the demand of the AASU and written to the lessee of the Sursuria Beel, Joydev Das in the district to stop fishing by dewatering .
It may be mentioned here that the wetlands in the eastern part of Barpeta were once very rich in the production of indigenous fishes. Thousands of people in the locality earned their livelihood from these wetlands. Apart from harvesting for the whole year, this area also worked as the source population of delicate indigenous fishes. But due to the alleged negligence and indifference of the authorities concerned together with the greed for money of the lessees, these fisheries have lost their past glory.
Fishing by dewatering and use of thick nets have already shown the exit path to a number of species and some others are on the verge of extinction. If the Assam Fishery Development Corporation under which jurisdiction these Fisheries fall and the Fishery Department of the State do not adopt effective steps for protection, more damage will be done and a huge population living on fishing will face starvation in the days to come, not to speak of the influence on the economy of the State as a whole.