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‘Carnivorous alligator gar’ threat to Srinagar’s Dal Lake

Published: 22nd Jun, 2023


Recently, a non-native alligator gar fish, was found in one of Kashmir’s idyllic lakes, raising apprehensions about its impact on the native fish species.

  • The rare, carnivorous fish was caught by the Jammu and Kashmir Lake Conservation and Management Authority (LCMA).

About Carnivorous alligator gar:

  • They are known for its crocodile-like head and razor-sharp teeth.
  • The alligator gar is a close relative of the bowfin species.
  • It is a ray-finned euryhaline fish and is one of the biggest freshwater fish in North America and the largest species in the ‘gar’ family.
  • The alligator gar fish is not an Indian species and normally found in Northern and Central America and also in Mexico.
  • But in recent years it was also found in some parts of India like Bhopal, Kerala and from the water-bodies of Maharashtra and Kolkata.

Why it is a cause of concern?

  • Being a predator fish and a carnivore, it can eat all types of fishes and therefore poses a threat to native species and to the overall ecosystem.
  • For example, gar fish grows rapidly and has a life span of 20-30 years.
  • It would kill all fingerlings of fish species already present in the water body and has a tendency to destroy natural aquatic life of Dal Lake.

Threat to Lake Ecosystem:

  • The lake, which is linked to the livelihood of thousands, has witnessed extreme loss in water quality, mainly because of anthropogenic pressures such as discharge of untreated sewage.
  • Thus, crocodile fish can further aggravate the loss of Lake Habitat.

Laws for protection from invasive species:

  • In India, the Biological Diversity Act 2002 prohibits the presence of any kind of invasive fish species that can be hazardous to natural fish fauna.

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