Mangaluru, May 07, 2016: It is reported that the Phalguni is rapidly drying up and a large number of Mahseer fish, locally called ‘Devara meenu’, have been seen dead in a puddle near a temple in Karambaru village, near Guruvayanakere.
Many people hesitate to catch the fish from ponds near temples because of its religious connection. This and some other local varieties of fish are in good number in the puddle near the Kelkar Mahalingeshwara Temple. It is an attraction to the devotees visiting the temple.
Local people said that there was no inflow into the Phalguni. The temple authorities said they had been seeing dead fish on the banks for the past few days. “We are bringing tankers and pouring water into the puddle. But this is not helping. We are desperately waiting for rain,” a member of the temple administration said.
K.M. Shankar, dean, College of Fisheries, Mangaluru, said that these fish stay in cool water where the dissolved oxygen level would be around 9 parts per million (ppm). During summer, the surface water temperature increases and it brings down the level of dissolved oxygen to less than 5 ppm. This leads to the death of fish.
“Death of fish during summer is not unusual. It is more during summer because of rivers going dry,” he said.
Prof Shankar said that this was the first time in the last 10 years that the district was reeling under water scarcity. Among the reasons for river bed going dry had been pumping of water to arecanut and other plantations along the river flow. Prof Shankar said rainfall alone can give relief to the fish.