The need for a combined effort with active participation of tribesmen to conserve the endemic and endangered species of fish wealth in the Nilgiri region was stressed at a workshop on Fish Conservation for the tribal communities of Wayanad, held here on Wednesday.

The programme was organised jointly by the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), Kochi; Community Agro-Biodiversity Centre of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Wayanad; and Fisheries Station, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS); in connection with International Day for Biological Diversity.

Anil Kumar, director, MSSRF, said river systems originating from the region harbouring a diverse aquatic genetic wealth were at risk owing to pollution, changes in flow patterns, and exploitation.

Tribes residing along these rivers and inland water systems had, over the generations, developed an intrinsic understanding of the flow of life in those waters and possessed an invaluable storehouse of knowledge, he added. “Inputs of these tribal communities are therefore essential to balance conservation plans with the modern day requirements of forest dwellers,” he said.

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