Keywords: fishing techniques, illegal fishing, legislation, water quality, participatory rural appraisal, PRA, pesticides, recreation, livelihoods, conservation, fishing licensing, Pakistan, fishing bans, fish population, river protection
Community response to ban on fishing and associated environmental problems: lesson learnt from River Swat, North of Pakistan
This study was conducted during 2006–2010 on River Swat, North of Pakistan. River Swat is the largest tributary of the Kabul River, which ultimately joins the Indus River. Fishing is a regular activity on the entire River Swat and is a major source of recreation and livelihood. This activity caused a decline in fish populations and ultimately fishing has been banned since 1982. This study evaluated the impacts of this strategy using three steps: 1) river water was analysed and results compared with various standards for fish life; 2) people's activities were observed; 3) the various fishing techniques were evaluated. We observed that the water quality is healthy for fish life; the ban and fishing techniques adopted thereafter had negative effects on fish population. Therefore, we suggest removal of the long–term ban, adoption of safe techniques for fishing, and maintenance of the river under 1976 fishery rules and the river protection ordinance of 2002 to ban fishing in the river during breeding season only.