'Matsyalaya' to preserve endangered fish species of Western Ghats

Dr K Shivaram Karanth Biological park of Pilikula Nisargadhama, one among the favourite hotspots of the district, is all set to offer yet another feature to its admirers, in coming days. As before, this time too, the project has a genuine purpose.

The ‘Matsyalaya’ aquarium project, initiated by the department of fisheries of Government of Karnataka, has its aim to preserve some of the endangered species of fish found in Western Ghat section. In association with experts in the field, the Nisargadhama, is all set to preserve, rear and breed the fish species and has built an aquarium cum breeding centre for this sake. The Matsyalaya will be open for public within two months.

Pilikula Nisargadhama Dr K Shivarama Karanth Biological Park Executive Director Prabhakar Sharma S A spoke to Deccan Herald and said that the Matsyalaya project has been taken up at a cost of Rs 98 lakh released by the Department of Fisheries.

The work on the ambitious project started in 2012. Subject Experts Ashwin Rai and Ronald D’Souza who are serving as consultants for Pilikula Biological park, have collected around 40 endangered species of fish including Garra bicornata, Dawkinsia arulius, Dawkinsia assimilis, Hypselobarbus thomassi and Garra mullya.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, subject expert Ashwin Rai said that the preservation of the endangered species was the necessity of the hour as the fish habitats in Western Ghats have been posing threat due to sand mining, dam constructions, power projects, poisoning and use of dynamites.

Also, the breeding of fish has been affected to a large extent because of the deviation in the river flow and hence, overall fish population has dwindled, Ashwin said and added that if, at this point of time, the fish species of Western Ghats are not preserved, the extinct of these is feared.   

Pilikula Nisargadhama Assistant Engineer Bhuvaneshwar said that these fish will be preserved and bred in the aquarium situated at the one acre land, on the banks of the Pilikula lake.

The fingerlings will be taken special care of, by placing them in separate glass cases meant for them and when the fishes grow up, will be let to the normal aquarium glass cases. A total of 12 concrete tanks with an area 6x4 feet will also be used to rear fish. The fishes will be added to different tanks, based on their size and species. The grown up fishes will be let into their original habitats and also into the pilikula lake. 

At present, the aquarium is meant only for the endangered species of fish and not for ornamental fish. The ornamental fish will be included during the expansion project of Rs 12 crore which is to be taken up in future, he said.

To make it sure that the fishes live in clean water, a filtration tank worth Rs 10 lakh will be used to draw filtered water for the aquarium, he added.

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