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Freshwater fish biodiversity in the River Ganga (India): changing pattern, threats and conservation perspectives

Freshwater fish biodiversity in the River Ganga (India): changing pattern, threats and conservation perspectives,10.1007/s11160-011-9218-6,Reviews in

Freshwater fish biodiversity in the River Ganga (India): changing pattern, threats and conservation perspectives  
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The river Ganges is the largest river in India and the fifth longest in the world. Although, many studies on fish ecology and systematic have been conducted largely to improve fisheries but fish diversity and their distribution pattern from conservation point of view have never been adequately addressed in the Ganges. In this connection, current distribution and abundance of freshwater fishes of river Ganges was studied and assessed from April 2007 to March 2009. We documented and described 143 freshwater fish species in the all stretches of the river which is higher than what was reported earlier. Some species were observed with shift in their distribution ranges. First time, a total of 10 exotic fishes, including Pterygoplichthys anisitsi, which has never been reported from India found in the Ganges. Alterations of the hydrological pattern due to various types of hydro projects was seems to be the largest threat to fishes of Ganges. Indiscriminate and illegal fishing, pollution, water abstraction, siltation and invasion of exotic species are also threatening the fish diversity in the Ganges and as many as 29 species are listed under threatened category. The study advocates a need to identify critical fish habitats in the Ganga basin to declare them as conservation reserves to mitigate the loss of fish diversity from this mighty large river.
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