He delivered the lecture on the topic, ‘Indigenous fishes of Manipur, impact of habitat destruction and ways to mitigate the problem’.
He said that Loktak lake has become a reservoir facilitating the spread of ‘introduced’ species of fishes while many indigenous fishes are losing its habitat.
Manipur valley was very rich in native species of fishes in the past. However, many of these species have vanished after the introduction of Indian and Chinese carps by the Government in 1980s, he said.
The major traditional fishery in Loktak lake was for Pengba and Sareng in the past. However, Pengba is now nearing extinction due to introduction of Common Carp. Now, the fish has been declared regionally extinct in the wild, the Professor said.
Ngaroi, Sarengkhoibi, Ngaten and Ngatin are now missing from the lake, he said and added that these are replaced by Grass Carp, Common Carp, Kandla and Tilapia.
Moreover, construction of Ithai barrage has disrupted migration of fishes from the lake, and some species have lost their spawning habitats, he said.
Since a large number fish species are endemic in Manipur, there is an urgent need for conservation which requires both funding and political will, the Professor observed.
He said that afforestation and extensive social forestry must be encouraged to reduce habitat degradation.
He further said that discharge of untreated municipal sewages and use of agro-chemicals in river catchments must be controlled.
Prof Vishwanath said that restoration of rivers and lakes are required to maintain water quality and restore the migratory routes of fishes.
RK Sanatomba Memorial Journalist award was conferred on ‘Hueiyen Lanpao’ Reporter Ashem Bebicha at the function.
The award carries a certificate, shawl and a cash prize of Rs 20,000.
Manipur Cultural Integration Conference president A Brajakumar Sharma and veteran journalist K Madhumangol graced the occasion as presidium members.
‘Kangla Lanpung’ (Vol X, Issue 1) was also released at the function.
Earlier, the gathering offered flowers at the photograph of RK Sanatomba.