Freshwater fish conservation policy in India using Western Ghats as a case study
Zoo Outreach Organization
Although 40% of freshwater fish in the Western Ghats are threatened with extinction, the highest of any taxonomic group threatened in the hotspot, it is the most neglected faunal group with respect to protection through protected areas or legislation, poorly represented in the current protected area system and not included in the protection schedules of the IWPA.
Networking with the state forest departments and MoEF to address policy; analysis of the taxa listed in the Wildlife Protection Act and the Indian Fisheries Act, Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2009, the Biological Diversity Act and National Water Policy; analysis of effectiveness of current PA system for fish; inclusion of fish in management and working plans; working on stakeholder and livelihood issues.
Incongruence in conservation policy vis-a-vis threatened status of freshwater fishes in the Western Ghats; incongruence in national biodiversity law and export of live fish for aquarium trade; poor representation of taxa in the protected area system; 22 of the 198 species in trade are threatened; taxonomic ambiguity, lack of awareness and high mortality at collection points threatens all fish taxa.
Create awareness about this lesser-known group of vertebrates; list threatened fish in EXIM policy to curb trade; inclusion of fish in forest working plans and protected area management plans; Alliance for Zero Extinction sites (single location endemic species) prioritized for conservation action; Frame an effective policy for freshwater fish conservation; add to existing policy for conservation.