Indiscriminate fishing may spell doom for Krishna Mystus ( Hemibagrus maydelli ), the king of riverine fishes in the Krishna.
According to a study undertaken by Fisheries Development Officer, Gadwal, B. Laxmappa and Zoology Lecturer, D. Venkata Siva Narayana, the species which is called as ‘Ponduga’ locally, was much in demand since it had a high market value.
The giant fish grows about two metres long and weighs about 70 kg, the biggest freshwater fish, and fetches Rs. 350 a kg. The researchers came to a conclusion after three years of observation along 300 km river stretch in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana state that the fish is found very rarely.
Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Laxmappa said that though the Krishna mystus was listed in least concerned category of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), its numbers was on the decline now.
During the study between 2012 and 2015, no fish was caught at three points, he said. Among the 15 fishing points they had visited on a regular basis as part of their study, catching it was very rare at six points and at the remaining six places its presence was moderate.
The fishermen from Nagarjunasagar in Nalgonda said that the presence of ‘ponduga’ had been declined largely. A trader from Chinnamunigal village of Nalgonda district, said that he saw over 10 kg of the fish way back in 2002.
The species is considered one of the best fish which was also earlier found in Bheema and Tungabadra, the tributaries of Krishna. The researchers have recommended the State government control fishing during July and August which are its breeding season to conserve it.