The All Loktak Lake Areas Fishers Union Manipur (ALLAFUM) has banned the use of LED light bulbs for fishing at night in Loktak Lake.
The ALLAFUM said in a release on Thursday that it had announced the ban in 2016 and has been observing it strictly every year. It stated that it once again announced the ban on the use of LED light bulbs and Injao Thaba technique at night during the period - December 30, 2022 till March 30, 2023.
The union stated that there will be a strict ban on the use of other deadly techniques such as poison and dynamo using batteries in all seasons.
The ban on LED bulbs and Injao Thaba is for two major reasons - one, this is the season for fingerlings to grow into a more mature fish and that overfishing, as a result of fishing all day and all night, can lead to very quick depletion of fish population. Secondly, the migratory birds visit Loktak lake during the season and is critical that they are not disturbed, particularly at night.
"We need to save the fish when they are still very small and it is a matter of sustainability if we allow them to grow into more mature fish," it stated.
The union stated that migratory birds from many countries come to visit Loktak during this season. The fishers are also the host to these birds who have come from far places.
"Using LED bulbs at night disturb their behaviour and we must not allow this to happen. To respect them and to ensure that Loktak continues to be a migratory bird’s paradise, we must stop using LEDs during this season. Remember it has potential for huge eco-tourism," it said.
ALLAFUM wants all motor boats at Loktak to stop plying. "Except for some essential ones like the ones between Thanga nd Karang and for medical emergencies, all motor boats, small and big, should be stopped. Motorised boats are harmful for aquatic vegetables, it is bad for fish and for traditional fishing. Resident and migratory birds are also disturbed by these motorized boats. In the past, we have written to the Environment and Forest and Climate Change Ministry.
ALLAFUM mentioned that the appeal has been heard and the ministry also has asked the LDA to take action on this. However, LDA has been silent on this matter, it said.
ALLAFUM appeals to all fishers of Loktak to respect its decision. "We also appeal to the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) to begin a ban on motor boats, and the use of LED bulbs for night fishing".