Save Otters Threatened by Dynamite Fishing

Target: Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in India

Goal: Ban the practice of “dynamite fishing” near protected waters.

India’s protected otter population is being threatened by the local practice of “dynamite fishing.” A significant portion of the Tungabhadra river, approximately 34 kilometers, has been declared an otter conservation habitat, but this sanctuary is under bombardment. According to The Hindu, an Indian news website, local fishermen use high powered explosives to catch fish in the area. Dynamite or other explosives are used to create a powerful shockwave in a body of water that stuns or kills waterlife within the blast radius.

Most of the fishermen using blast fishing methods are working upstream near Munirabad or downstream in the Koppal district, but wildlife specialists believe their efforts are extending into the otter sanctuary. Local conservationists claim that despite the sanctuaries legal status there has been little to no enforcement by law officials. There is currently nothing stopping dynamite fishers from entering the protected parts of the Tungabhadra river. The smooth-coated otters are only one of ninety species of aquatic wildlife that are at risk. As long as high collateral damage methods like dynamite fishing are in use, there is no way conservationists can guarantee the safety for the Tungabhadra river’s wildlife.

Please sign this petition to demand the Indian government shut down dynamite fishing near protected waters.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Vardhan,

The recently created Tungabhadra river otter sanctuary is being endangered by so called “dynamite fishing.” Local fisherman use the shockwaves from explosives to stun and kill large swaths of aquatic wildlife. This practice occupies  a legal grey area despite its destructive potential. Furthermore the dynamite fishermen allegedly practice north of the river near Munirabad and south of the sanctuary in the Koppal district. According to wildlife specialists the collateral damage from dynamite fishing can extend far into the sanctuary.

Indrajit Ghorpade, an Honorary Wildlife Warden, claims that since the 34 kilometer stretch of the river has been declared a sanctuary for the smooth-coated otter population there has been no enforcement or management in the area. As of now there is nothing preventing nearby fishermen from exploiting the protected waters and even if they are kept out, dynamite fishing on the borders is still dangerous to the wildlife within. Dynamite fishing is illegal in many countries due to the enormous collateral damage it inflicts on wildlife and habitats; there is no safe place for it. Please shut down this dangerous practice. I demand that you protect the otters of the Tungabhadra river and prevent dynamite fishing near their waters.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Drajay


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