Establishing a Fish Sanctuary in Indawgyi Lake, Kachin State
Indawgyi Lake is a large closed lake in Kachin State.
Sixty-four fish species have been documented from Indawgyi Lake, three of them endemic, but the level of species richness and endemism are likely to be much higher. The fish fauna does not appear to include any alien species. In addition, the lake is an important breeding ground for birds and 97 species of water-bird have been recorded.
Of the 13 villages around the lake, five have been settled by migrants. The indigenous people rely primarily on agriculture and use traditional, low impact fishing techniques. But the newcomers, who arrived in the 1990s, although a small minority, are totally dependent on fishing and employ destructive fishing practices. These include fishing during the breeding (closed) season, and abandoning their fishing nests, which remain as “ghost” nets that continue to trap and kill fish.
The project goal is to reduce the impact of over-fishing by migrant communities through awareness raising, creation of fish sanctuaries, and negotiation of a conservation agreement that links respect for sustainable fishing practices with livelihood support.