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Assam: Largest wetland shrinks, fishers are staring at an uncertain future by Aatreyee Dhar October 05,2021   |  Source: Scroll

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 Rs 500 a day, has now dwindled in volume drastically. The declined stock of carps, prawns and catfish draws him a little more than Rs 150 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,” said Rotish, the resident of Bagantilla, a village on the southern bank of Son Beel. “Casting a fishing net weighing about 10 kg does not guarantee a decent-sized catch, whereas a 5 kg net would suffice before. Fishes like Ilish (Hilsa) and Chapila (Indian river shad) are not available anymore.” The wetland is spread over more than 3,000 hectares 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

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