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Assam: Fishermen struggle to survive as state’s largest wetland shrinks away by Aatreyee Dhar October 01,2021   |  Source: Mongabay-India

When the night’s darkness descends over the waters of Son Beel, the largest wetland in Assam and the second largest in Asia, Rotish Das, 33, sets out to catch fish in his boat. He fishes in the placid expanse of Son Beel through the night and sells his catch the next day, at a bustling fish market — the Kalibari bazaar, a few kilometres away. The catch that once earned him 500 rupees a day, has now dwindled in volume drastically. The declined stock of carps, prawns and catfish draws him a little more than 150 rupees daily, which is not enough to go around the year. “Earlier I would catch the same quantity of fish both during the day and the night. Casting a fishing net weighing about 10kg doesn’t guarantee a decent-sized catch, whereas a 5kg net would suffice before. Fishes like Ilish (Hilsa) and Chapila (Indian river shad) are not available anymore,” says Rotish, the resident of Bagantilla, a village on the southern bank of Son Beel. The wetland is spread over more than 3,000 ha in Assam’s Barak valley and is fed mostly by the Singla river, originating from the hills of Mizoram. The northernmost part of the wetland drains through the outlet Kachua into the river Kushiara in Bangladesh, after traversing a length of 19.3 km. A dam constructed in 1954 on Kachua was


© 2021 Mongabay-India

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)