Fishery creates soar spot on Phewa’s beauty

Rishi Baral

Pokhara, January 26:

The fishnet placed by the Agriculture Research Centre (Fish) in the Phewa Lake, that stretches to the centre of the Lake, has become an eyesore for tourists as well as local on lookers.

Tourists coming for boating in the lake, one of the main attractions of the city, complain about the net spoiling the beauty. Mangal Nepali, the head of Community Police Office, Baidam said that though it was common to construct enclosure to raise fish, the decision to expand the fishnet to the middle of the lake was not good. According to ARC, 10 ropanis at Hallanchok near Phewachok and 15 ropanis at Kapaudi side of the lake were being used as fishery.

A tourism enterpriser Sundar Shrestha said either the lake should be announced as fishery or the encroachment of the lake area should be stopped. Boatmen complain that the net creates difficulty while rowing boats. They say tourists are forced to use small and narrow ghats for boating given the area acquired by ARC. The lake is facing other problems too. The pollution in the lake is on rise and the lake is getting smaller day-by-day because of silting.

Bishnu Banstola, the chairman of Pokhara Valley Urban Development Committee blamed hoteliers and the municipality for pollution. Hoteliers and the municipality are channelling sewage in the lake. The ARC-Kaski senior technical officer Ram Kumar Shrestha informed the ARC was producing 25,000 fislings in 12 ponds on the banks of Phewa Lake and was producing six tonnes of fish in the lake each year.

Hari Kumal, an ARC employee said it was raising silver carp, bighead, common carp and grass carp in the Phewa Lake. He added the fish were given fodder combining of bone pieces, corn flour and hay. Tourism entrepreneurs claim this fodder also contributes to the pollution in the lake.

The ditching of excess water from nearby fishponds is helping weeds flourish, adding more pollution and shortening the lake area, CPSC’s Nepali said. According to him, weeds including Jalkumbhi have encroached the famous spot for the reflection of Machhapuchhre peak from the lake. Foreigners seem more worried than locals. But, ARC (Fish)-Kaski senior technical officer Shrestha ruled out a link between pollution in the lake and raising of fish.

He revealed that the centre was raising fish and fishlings in over 150 cages in two places, enclosures in several places and 12 ponds near the lake. Though, Begnas Lake is thought to be more suitable for fish, ARC is using the Phewa Lake. A figure shows that eight tonnes of fish is produced from Phewa, Rupa and Begnas out of which Phewa’s production alone is six tonnes.