Municipal and industrial effluent from Rawalpindi and Islamabad is negatively impacting the upstream migration and breeding of the ‘Tor Putitora’ fish at Margalla Hills.
The Margalla Hills areas of River Soan have been this variety’s natural breeding ground, as it thrives in cool waters with a gravel and stone bed. Large scale extraction of sand, gravel and stones from the Margalla Hills has destroyed this natural habitat.
Margalla, Murree, Kahuta and Lehtrar are the main aquatic habitats for this fish species, Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) Director Dr. Muhammad Rafique said, adding that Tor Putitora fingerlings and fries had been found in the areas north ofRawal Dam which shows that the fish is still breeding in the area despite dam construction and pollution in River Soan below Rawalpindi.
However, he said that its population was extremely low.
He said that aquatic fauna and fish were mostly found in RawalLake and the ShahdaraValley nullah, with major commercial fish being found in the RawalLake area which is a buffer zone for the MargallaHillsNational Park.
“Problems like diversion of water bodies, fast paced construction work, urbanisation,population influx, habitat fragmentation, physical and ecological barriers to fish migration and municipal garbage are very severe in this area,” the director informed.