Troubled waters: Why Manipur is fast losing its indigenous fish species

The construction of the Ithai barrage, pollution and overexploitation are mainly to blame.

Hailing from a fishing village in Manipur’s Loktak Lake, which has seen indigenous fish varieties flounder in recent decades, Tongbram Amarjit Singh’s dream project since his school days was to document and showcase the slowly fading traditional fishing practices of his community.

Mapping the decline in indigenous fish species, fish catch and the concurrent waning of traditional techniques of fishing through his grandparents’ and parents’ experiences, Singh was stirred to act to preserve and conserve a culture integral to the identity of his community.

Now Singh, 35, an English translator at the state Assembly, has given shape to his dreams, with the help of his family and community, in the form of the Loktak Folklore Museum, at the island village of Thanga in Loktak Lake.

Presenting an array of fishing gear – basketry items, traps, impalers, hooks, fishing rods, cotton and fabric twine and more, this private collection is dedicated exclusively to Loktak and its environment, said Singh, who belongs to the Thanga Tongbram Leikai locality….

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