The Mirror of Manipur || Fast, Factual and Fearless.

Loktak Fishers Call For Ban On Night Fishing With LED Lights


The ALLAFUM’s secretary said that the population of fish in Loktak Lake had declined sharply in recent years affecting the livelihoods of the Loktak fishers

TFM Desk

Pushing on with its agenda of community-led conservation of Loktak Lake along with protection of the wintering migratory water birds, the All Loktak Lake Area Fishers Union, Manipur (ALLAFUM) called for the ban on activities within the lake that undermine its conservation objectives.

Outlining the negative approaches of local fishers using LED lights to fish illegally within the core area of the lake, the ALLAFUM’s secretary Oinam Rajen Singh reminded the union’s earlier call for banning the practice within the immediate vicinity of the lake waterbody under the broad supervision of the fishing community settled at Champu Khangpok Floating Island Village.

Speaking to media persons on Sunday, Rajen pointed out that due to several factors, including blocking of the traditional passage of migratory fish population by Ithai Barrage — a component of the Loktak Hydroelectric Power Project — and overharvesting by local fishers using various means of fishing techniques, the population of fish in Loktak Lake had declined sharply in recent years affecting the livelihoods of the Loktak fishers.

The necessity to earn their livelihoods had forced many local fishers to devise different means of catching fish, whether sustainable or not, said Rajen. The recent practice of fishing at night time using LED lights is not only leading to overharvesting of the fish whereas it is adversely affecting the feeding ground of the wintering migratory water birds that come to the lake between October and February every year, he added.

It may be recalled that local fishers had recently started using LED (Light Emitting Diode) devise, a semiconductor diode normally used in electronic displays, indoor and outdoor lightings, to attract the fish with the bright lights and Loktak Lake had appeared like a city with lights at night time. The practice attracted the local authorities’ attention as entirely negative to the traditional fishing practices of the Loktak fishers.

The night fishing with hordes of brightly-lit LED lights and the subsequent human activity in the core area of the lake is scaring away the wintering water birds, said Rajen, stressing that this negative practice needs to be halted in order to protect the long-distance flying migratory water birds and to prevent the over harvesting of fish in the lake through negative practices.

Along with the call for a total ban on night fishing with LED lights, the union’s secretary reiterated the Union’s call for closed season during January-February to prevent overharvesting of fingerlings during the spawning period.

The local fishers must restrict their fishing activities to sustainable method of fishing to prevent over harvesting of the fingerlings, said Rajen, adding that the fishers must refrain from using closely knitted fishing nets of mesh size 10 and 13 so as to avoid catching the fries and newly spawn fish.

The Union is also against the practice of catching fish using battery-operated dynamo-apparatus which is entirely an undesired practice as it shocks and kills not only fish but other life forms including amphibians, insects and planktons, the Union’s secretary said. He warned that the members of the Union are always vigilant of apprehending locals using dynamo to catch fish illegally.

The fishing community of Champu Khangpok floating island village in the midst of the lake is shouldering responsibility for preventing the abuse of the lake and for the long-term conservation of the lake including its biological diversity as the fishers have a high stake being entirely dependent on the lake’s resources for their living and sustenance, the secretary informed.

The Loktak Development Authority must take proactive role in designing and ensuring an effective strategy for the management and conservation of the lake with the support of the Loktak fishers so as to achieve meaningful conservation of the lake and to prevent biodiversity loss, Rajen said.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.