Sanctuaries

 

Amlayee Mahaseer Fish Sanctuary, Nongbareh (West Jaintia Hills District)

It has been a practice of the indigenous tribals to go into the hills for group hunting, or descend to the Rivers and Streams for Community Fishing, using tuberous roots, barks and fruits of certain trees to poison the fish, once the harvesting of the major crop is over in December/January. In fact, this hobby is still practiced in some remote corners of the State, popularly known as "Shoh-Kha-ru"- and sometimes disputes arise between two neighbouring Villages over the ownership of the River.

Amlayee river was no exception. Nongbareh-rim and Nongbareh-lyntiar are two hamlets on either side of the river that disputed over the rights of Community fishing. Even insecticides and pesticides were often used, to kill the entire fauna of the river. But the Lyngdoh (traditional religious head) was a very far-sighted man. He saw the dangers of such over exploitation of natural resources. The therefore convinced both the Communities of the importance to conserve the precious fish of the river, and decreed that nobody would be allowed to catch fish from the river and that violators would be heavily fined. Resultantly the Mahaseers of Amlayee flourished. Amlayee mahaseer fish sanctuary came into existence. It happened about 40 years ago when the concept of conservation of fish was not even heard.

Sanctuary is a place of safety, a nature reserve where endangered and threatened species are cared for and fishing prohibited. The main objective is to preserve and enhance the aquatic bio-diversity, provide breeding and feeding ground, protect the species, increase the abundance of threatened species, restoration of the diminishing stock and serve also as a tourist spot to benefit the rural people and improve their livelihoods.

The Amlayee Mahaseer Fish sanctuary is a classic example of micro-management and is located at Nongbareh Village under Amlarem Sub-Division, about 21 Km from the Sub-Divisional Headquarter Amlarem and can be reached by road. About 1.5 Km of this stream is being protected by the Village Durbar where Chocolate Mahaseer (Neolissocheilus hexagonalepis) has extensively populated, and swims along with the children. A small check dam was constructed across a part of the river. "The Amlayee River" originates from Khonglah village, covers a distance of 5 km from Khonglah Village to Nongbareh and meets the Umngot river. Brooders from this sanctuary are also taken for experimental research in breeding techniques by the ICAR and St. Anthony's College Shillong. The best season to visit is during the month of October- November. In fact this is just one of the river Umngot sub-basins where more fascinating Mahaseer fish sanctuaries can be created with active participation of the people, for sport fishing in line with the concept of "Catch and release".

Conservation is very important since the species indigenous to the state are the wealth and need to be preserved for posterity. They form a source of livelihood for many and also offer a great potential source as sport fishing for "Aqua-Tourism".

 

Songkal Wari, Rombagre (West Garo Hills District)

It is a fish sanctuary created in the river Simsang under West Garo Hills District. Its area is about 0.1 ha and a depth of about 4.5 m. It is densely populated by Chocolate Mahseer and other species of Mahseer. Initially, it was initiated by IFAD by forming a Natural Resource Management Group (NaRMG) to look after the eco-diversity of Rombagre Village and its surrounding areas in the year 2003-04. The Department of Fisheries, only helps them technically, and later on assisted them financially by way of giving incentives under the scheme “conservation & legislation of fish and fisheries”. The main objective of creating sanctuary is to protect the decreasing population of indigenous species in the river and to create awareness among the community. Now, the Songkal wari commonly call as Rombagre sanctuary has achieved what and how it was projected. It becomes the breeding place and fish has multiplied into hundreds and thousands and also helps in increasing the fish population through the entire stretch of Simsang River. It has become the Tourist Spot and also it has set an example to other communities to follow in different locations and rivers. It is just because of Songkal Wari, many fish sanctuaries has come up in Garo Hills.

 

Wachi Wari (West Garo Hills District)

It is also a fish sanctuary newly created in the Simsang River very near to Songkal Wari. Its area is about 0.1 ha and a depth of 2.5 m. The population of fish is almost as equal as Songkal Wari. It is a picnic spot and the community is collecting fees whoever goes there for picnic. The people are enjoying swimming along with the fishes and feeding them.

 

Asim Bibra Fish Sanctuary (East Garo Hills District)

Chibok is the tributary of river Simsang and henceforth, became the hot spots for various aquatic fauna. The community through participatory mode has made resolution to conserve the aquatic hotspots and also took initiatives for catchment area development including startegic way of livelihood improvement. Various 'wari' - a sanctuary in local dialect do exist right from the origin of the river Chibok and an elder man from the village, Mr Jackariash R Marak, narrated that there are around 11 (eleven) such Community Conserved Areas namely Chiphot bibra, Rabdikwari, Miteramabata, Maktrakigol, Degasia, mandrang wari, Ringpleng wari, Kalbong, Dinran wari, Rongguang and Jakpigok.

Looking at the prospect of sustaining livelihood, the community through participatory mode on 3rd February 2007, under the umbrella of Village Committee comprising of the Nokma, Sordar, Secretary, Accountant, Treasurer and 11 executive members, passed a resolution for sustainably conserving the Asim Bibra fish sanctuary. They have also strictly restricted illegal method of fishing, took up steps in conserving the catchment areas and for livelihood improvement undertake proper managed yearly community fishing schedule. One tea stall has also been erected by the community for providing refreshment to the passerby and a nominal amount of Rs. 2000 is set as fee for renting the tea stall and compltely handhold by the village community. The tea stall is also a boon for many tiring passerby, as it's the only shop available for taking refreshment, but above all the scenic beauty of the Asim Bibra sanctuary also refreshes their mood for carrying their further journey to the other villages. Every young and old enjoy by taking refuge, under the cool shade at the bank of river Chibok when ever time permits.

Therea re about 146 household and every house hold usually contributes Rs. 20 per year and pool the fund to the Village Community which is further used during the community fishing event to meet the expenses of refreshment or other miscellaneous activities. During the yearly community fishing event, scheduled to be held in the month of March or April, the community rejoice the day by merry making and thanks giving to Almighty God - the creator for providing them nature's valuable resources and sharing it among the villagers equally. [Source MRDS]

 

Deku Dobagre Fish Sanctuary (South Garo Hills District)

To maintain the aquatic eco-system of the river water in precise and to preserve the biodiversity of the whole surrounding natural environment this fish preservation pratice has been brought forward by the community of Deku Dobagre village. Bugai River is one of the most famous rivers under the district of South Garo Hills which falls under the Chokpot Block. in this district Deku Dobagre is a village with a population of 257 and 42 households were where these villages have proved themselves that they can preserve fish even in the running water by involving SHG members as well as villagers. During the year 2008 in the month of January with the help of the Nokma of the Deku Dobagre village, the Dokua Male SHG have taken initiative to preserve fish in the Bugai river and thus they organized a meeting among the villagers. Since then they are preserving fish in this river also the new SHgs formed under the MRDS project have joined hands with the Dokua male SHG who are taking care of this fish reserve. Thus, Singga Kucholsan SHG, Ritimkari Kucholsan SHG, Mikasal Kucholsan SHGs and Dokua Kucholsan SHG are now trying to include some new rules and regulations to protect it and they are planning to improve as well as to extend the area of reserve in a more sustainable and feasible manner. Also, a Fish Sanctuary Management Committee has been formed to manage the fish reserve more efficiently. Thus, it is an attempt of the community to retain a healthy natural environment and to make their natural resources rich. [Source MRDS]