EFFECTS OF DAMS ANDEFFECTS OF DAMS ANDEFFECTS OF DAMS ANDEFFECTS OF DAMS AND WEIRS ON THE FISHERIWEIRS ON THE FISHERIWEIRS ON THE FISHERIWEIRS ON THE FISHERIES OF RIVERES OF RIVERES OF RIVERES OF RIVER
Fish and their habitat are considerably affected by river valley projects. Even though lotic sectorof the reservoir maintains a fluviatile ecosystem, the lentic zone and the bays sustain a lucstrineecosystem. The reservoir develops certain features of its own. The dam as a whole alters the riverhydrology both up and down streams, making a very new environment. The quality of impounded water varies from watershed to watershed depending on soil quality, humaninterferences and climate conditions. To a large extend it also depends on the morphometriccharacters of the reservoirs like shape of the basin, area, mean depth and the regularity of theshoreline. There are positive as well as negative impacts of reservoirs on fisheries.
Positive factors effecting the fish production due to impoundment:
(1). Increased primary productivity: In running water plankton population is generally very low,due to turbidity restricting population of sunlight. Clarity of water is generally very high in mostof reservoirs as reservoirs act as silt traps and hence the suspended matter settles down at thebottom. During the filling period of reservoirs (initial 2–3 years), there is usually an initial spurtof plankton and benthic communities due to the increased availability of nutrients released fromthe decay of submerged vegetation. This trophic burst is also because of the saprogenic (like tofeed on dead organic matter) lacustrine species filling the vacant niches created by thedisappearances of saprophobic (don’t like to feed on dead organic matter) riverine animals. Thisled to increased primary production. The reservoir yielded very high production after dammingthe rivers. In most of the Indian reservoirs, from first year of impounding there appeared aphytoplankton bloom which persisted in many reservoirs like Stanley reservoir, Bhavanisagar,Amaravatty etc of southern India.2. Reservoirs act as sanctuary: There are many instances where reservoirs acted as sanctuaries,example for this are
in Tiaiya (on river Damodar),
in Nagarjuna sagar (on river Krishna)
in Sivagisagar (on river Krishna)etc. The inundated tree tank can act as substrates for thick periphyton (organisms that live byattaching to the stem and leaves of freshwater plants) growth which promotes the production of fishes like
which feed on periphyton.3. Availability of food is increased: Water level fluctuations in reservoirs benefit the fishery,when water inundates the land area along with vegetations. Abundant food is made available forthe fishes due to the decomposition of the vegetation, which releases nutrients to the water forthe growth of biotic communities.
Negative role of impoundments due to the construction of dam on fisheries:
The problems, which may arise for fishery due to the construction of a dam, are associated withthe unfavourable physico-chemical conditions of water, unavailable food and feeding areas,barrier for fish migration, damage of spawning grounds, excessive growth of aquatic weeds andchange in species composition of fish.(1). Unfavourable physico-chemical conditions: The Physico-chemical conditions of a reservoirdepends on the prevailing climatic conditions including air temperature, wind velocity, rain falletc. Consequent to the dam construction and reservoir formation, substantial morpho-ecologicalchanges occur in the original river both above and below the dam site. These include conversionof running water into a water body of slow discharge characteristics and radical transformationof long established ties and inter-relationship between organisms. During summer, in the staticcondition of the reservoirs, surface water gets heated up and the bottom layer remains unaffected.