7 indigenous fishes listed endangered, 23 more vulnerable, sanctuary to be set up


by Sobhapati Samom Imphal, March 29: The largest global environmental network, International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has listed 15 fish species including 7 from Manipur as ‘endangered freshwater fish species’ in their recently released Red list of threatened species report on the status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in eastern Himalaya which covers the entire NE states and parts of eastern India, Bangladesh, Nepal.
Manipur’s 7 fishes in the IUCN red list are Ngakha Meingangbi(Puntius manipurensis) Ngatup Schistura  Kanjupkhulensis ), Ngatup makhal ama (Schistura minutes), Ngatup manba nga (Schistura reticula), Ching-ngakra (Pterocryptis barakensis), Ching-Ukabi (Badis tuivaiei) and Nung-nga (Psilorhynchus microphthalamus).
A 6 member research team headed by renowned fish researcher Prof Waikhom Vishwanath of Manipur University’s Life Science department conducted the research work on the status and distribution of freshwater fishes of the eastern Himalaya region which comprises Ganga delta and plain, Ganga Himalayan foothills, Upper Brahmaputra, Middle Brahmaputra, Chin hills-Arakan coast and Sittang-Irrawaddy eco-region, for compiling IUCN’s Red list report.
The other co-researchers are Heok Hee Ng of National University of Singapore,Ralf Britz of The Natural History of Museum,London,L Kosygin Singh of Zoological Survey of India(Orissa),Shivaji Chaudhry of BG Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development and Kevin W Conway of Texas and A&M University.
“It took one year  to compile it(IUCN’s report) by studying 115 fish species out of 520 species found in the eastern Himalaya region”,Prof W Vishwanath said.“Interestingly out of the 50 freshwater fishes listed as vulnerable there are 23 more fish species from Manipur”.
According to the IUCN document,half of fish species(263) in eastern Himalaya are categorized as Least Concerned while 27 per cent (141 species) are under Data Deficient category.
Only 1 per cent of the species (5) are Critically Endangered including one nemacheiline loach,Schistura papulifera is endemic in eastern Meghalaya’s Krem Synrang Pamiang cave system in Jaintia hills, while Endangered occupies hardly 3 per cent species(15).Besides 9 per cent of them(46) categorized as Near Threatened category.
Though no species was categorized as globally extinct or extinct in the wild in the eastern Himalaya assessment region,Manipur`s state fish Pengba(Osteobrama belangeri) was reported to be regionally extinct in wild as the route of this Ayeyarwaddy basin(Myanmar) origin minor carp has been disturbed with the construction of Ithai barrage across Manipur river for the operation of Loktak hydro-electric project 28 years ago.
Drying up of wetlands due to siltation and conversion of Loktak,largest freshwater lake in NE India(40,000 hectare),into a water reservoir after commissioning of the above project,causes drastic change in Manipur’s aquatic environment forcing many species including Nganap (Pangio pangia),Sareng Khoibi (botia berdmorei),Ngasep (mystus bleekeri) and Ngamu (Channa orientalis) vulnerable. Manipur has more than 200 fish species.
“Pollution,habitat lost,damming,over-exploitation besides species invasion are the major threats in Manipur,” Prof Vishwanath said when enquired. “Fishes in Chindwin basin in Manipur particularly Imphal river and its tributaries are so vulnerable unlike the Bramhaputra basin where the species may find similar habitat for their survival.”
Besides the development of Moreh(India) and Tamu(Myanmar)-both border townships for 16 year old Indo-Myanmar border trade has impacted on the aquatic environment in Lokchao river in Manipur and Yu river in Myanmar.
Barak basin in south western Manipur is also under threat, the IUCN report added.Manipur’s western hills are drained by the Barak and its tributaries before it enters Assam’s Cachar district and finally enter Bangladesh to join Surma-Meghna basin.
The proposed development of the Tipaimukh High Dam hydro-electric project along Manipur-Mizoram-Assam border there will be flow modification and flooding of the Barak basin in the western part of Manipur.
“Many species endemic to the Barak basin including Ching-Ukabi(Badis tuivaiei),Ching-Ngakra(Pterocryptis barakensis),Ngatup manbi(Schistura minutus) and Ching-nga(Schistura tigrinum) are assessed as endangered or as vulnerable”,it  added.


  1. Concerned authorities are requested to kindly enlighten us n the world about other manipuri fish species or varieties known less to the outside world..eg, ngachik,ngakra,ngakichoubi,ngawa,ngamu etc.. they r sonetimes seen in other south east asian countries(in videos uploaded in youtubes)..but if they r not just the same varieties or species,pliz try to name them with manipuri names and use the original names as their common names..this could encourage global recognition of the species as well as manipur as a whole..eg, singju is different from salad or kimchi but people represented singju as salad n iromba as smashed vegetable..but if any people are told to prepare salad or smashed vegetable,they wont ever prepare singju or iromba..this makes our singju or iromba or anything unrecognised to the outside world..iromba is iromba n singju is just singju n nothing else..n about our u morok has been introduced as king chilli or raja mircha..what is dis..y r we so reluctant or ashamed of our language or identity?..dis was the reason y the workd never recognised it n the concerned authorities never thought or took seriously of its nomenclature or research or patent..while nagaland got the patent in the name of naga jolka or something..despite its cultivation since 1000 years in manipur..n ther r many others too but remain unexplored or unnamed to the world of science like soibum,hawaizar,ngari,lomba,naoseklei…they r really indigineous n unique..no matter they hav been tagged with scientific names from other parts but they must hav manipuri varieties n they can hav manipuri common names..my sincere request to concerned authorities like deptts of zoology,botany,horticultr,veterinary,piscicultr…pliz consider my concept without sarcasm or humiliation..lets make a revolution


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