Replicating Community Managed Fish Conservation Zones in Free-Flowing Rivers

Start and End Dates: 

Jan 2023 to Dec 2023


Introduction to the Project:

Unsustainable fishing practices (electro-fishing, dynamiting, poisoning) have replaced traditional practices, and this poses severe threats to many species of economic and ecological value. Knowledge gaps about the conservation status of riverine biodiversity; taxonomic uncertainty; spawning sites and lack of stakeholder participation makes conserving freshwater biodiversity a difficult enterprise. Driven by the need to protect fish and their habitat from exploitative practices, in January 2021, the Khengjang and Yangoulen village councils in Manipur and the Lapalang village council in Meghalaya declared Fish Conservation Zones (FCZ) in stretches of the river adjoining their villages. This was done with support from a recently concluded CEPF grant called Saving the Fish from Mekong to Meghalaya.


The intent is to upscale our model of scientifically informed and community-based fish conservation zones in Meghalaya and Manipur so that there is a paradigm shift in approaches to fish conservation in both government, local communities and civil society.



• Knowledge and best practices transfer and sharing from existing fish conservation zones in Meghalaya and Manipur to one additional site in each state, followed by on-ground implementation and monitoring

• Carry out a rapid assessment of five of the Mahseer “sanctuaries” established by the Government of Meghalaya to assess their impact on overall fish fauna and local hydrology

• Conduct a dissemination workshop in Northeast India which will involve discussions of the Fish Conservation Zones (FCZ) concept and experience with government fisheries and water resources officials followed by a national workshop on FCZs in IIHS Bengaluru to bring together the FCZ representatives, stakeholders from the Ministry of Fisheries, the Government of India, fish conservationists and biologists and networks like the India Rivers Forum followed by a field exposure trip to the Western Ghats

Funded By:

Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) enables civil society to protect the world’s biodiversity hotspots—biologically rich ecosystems that are essential to humanity, yet highly threatened.