Posing a serious threat to other aquatic fauna, Hundreds of fish have died in Rewalsar wetlands due due to water toxicity, which is serious threat, said by the wildlife experts.
Incident occur in the Rewalsar wetlands which were included in the list of wetlands of national importance by the ministry of environment and forests in 2005 and located about 24 km from Mandi. The wetland have religious and ecological importance.
"The main cause of the fish mortality is water contamination. Last year also a large number of fish died," director of the fisheries department Gurcharan Singh told IANS Thursday. Also, He added that over-feeding of the fish by the people due to religious sentiments was also responsible for the deaths.
However, a temple, a monasteryand a gurdwara are located on the banks of the wetlands and devotees feed the aquatic creatures.
But the studies proved that the Rewalsar wetlands are under strain due to pollution, siltation, encroachment and overgrowth of weeds. The studies conducted by the Himachal State Council for Science, Technology and Environment
Over the years, the depth of the wetlands has reduced drastically and covered by the Weeds, almost a major portion of the water body. Also, pollution depletes dissolved oxygen in water, suffocating the aquatic organisms, says the experts.
They say the government should impose a ban on feeding the aquatic creatures as most of the starchy items are not eaten by the fish, which often results in pollution and growth of harmful micro-organism in the water body.
"Rapid urbanisation and development activities near the wetlands have also put tremendous pressure on the water body," said a biologist.
They also added that the the septic tanks, constructed around the water body, don't adhere to specific standards resulting in the seepage of pollutants into the wetlands.
But the officials of the fisheries department said the water body was "overcrowded" with aquatic creatures and the selective harvesting of the fish was the only solution.
The harvesting is not carried out due to religious sentiments, said an official.