11 April, Kathmandu: Special measures are needed in hydro and irrigation projects of Nepal to arrest rapidly declining fish stocks in the country’s rivers, according a study by the Asian Development Bank.
“Early findings of this study suggest that the fish population in Nepal’s river basins with dams are on the sharp decline” said Deepak Bahadur Singh, ADB’s senior environment officer and co-author of the study entitled ‘The Impact of Dams on Fish in the Rivers of Nepal’.
“Some technical considerations in building dams or other such projects can go a long way in saving the fish population. Providing a fish ladder, building a fish passage, and a fish bypass channel, are some examples.”
The study assessed the impact of projects including the construction of dams on aquatic biodiversity, apart from assessing the operation of selected hydropower and irrigation systems with dams to divert water.
The systems included the Kali Gandaki, Marshyangdi, Middle Marshyangdi, Kulekhani, Khimti and Trishuli hydropower projects and the Babai irrigation project.
Releasing the report amid a programme here today, Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, ADB’s country director for Nepal, said, “We hope this study will open the door for more discussion and extensive research on this important topic.” “A broader understanding of the importance of a healthy fish habitat to maintaining balance in the ecosystem and food chain and generating economic and social benefits from fisheries will go a long way in promoting environmentally sustainable development.”