Fishy methods

Published: Monday 30 September 2002

-- The use of destructive fishing practices is wreaking havoc on aquatic resources in the Malakand river network in Pakistan. A survey conducted in Malakand and Swat districts revealed that 65 per cent of fishing in the region is done by dynamiting, and four per cent by using Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (ddt) and pesticides. It was found that 15 kilogrammes of dynamite is blasted every month in the area. In two villages -- Ramora and Matkani -- dynamiting contributes to 90 per cent of the total fish catch. These ruthless methods are also taking a toll on human health, with a spurt in the incidence of gastroenteritis and liver disorders.

The fresh water network of Malakand has great biological, economic and social value. Swat river is the habitat of 11 indigenous fish species, including the swati, thalk, mahasheer and chunar, which are facing extinction. Experts have warned that if the destructive trend continues, the rivers would be virtually devoid of all aquatic life in the next 10 years.

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