Fisheries | VOL. 13, ISSUE 77 March-April 2013

Coldwater Fish

The upland reaches of India are bestowed with vast and varied water resources and rich piscine diversity—258 species belonging to 21 families and 76 genera. Out of these, more than 255 species are recorded from North East Himalayas, 302 from the West and Central Himalayas and 91 from the Deccan plateau. These resources are under constant pressure from various anthropogenic stresses and incremental changes in climatic conditions would be detrimental for the rich fish germplasm resources and fishery. The Himalaya has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has estimated 5000-6000 glaciers in the Indian part of the Himalaya, gigantic water bodies that serve as a source to the major river system of northern India. A regulated melting and recharging process maintains a state of equilibrium. However, recent scientific studies have shown that glaciers may be retreating, a result of various cumulative factors of which climate change is primary. Rapid melting might cause serious threat to fisheries of the region and lead to extermination of valuable species. Moreover, global mean temperature is expected to rise by 1.5-4.5°C over the next half-century (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). Such a large temperature shift will affect the biological functions of aquatic organisms. Coldwater fishes are considered important ecological indicators as they are sensitive to changes in water temperature and...

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