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 Post subject: Fighting the cause
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:52 pm 
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Fishaholic
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Location: Devon, England
Had a bit of a chat with Mark (Redfin) the other day. Not only is he a World-renowned scientist, he is also on the committee of the ACA; a NGO in the UK, who fight pollution on behalf of anglers and fishery owners.

Following on from the thread about Up North, I would suggest that; you need to lobby Government (Local or National) as they make the laws. The Supreme Court can only apply laws which Government have put onto the statute.
So both of those areas need to be addressed.
From an environmental point of view, they can be worked on by both yourselves, as voters (I know it's probably not worth much, but every little helps) and by us foreigners as potential income.
Letters to papers, to politicians and to anyone else who is influential locally will help to raise the issues and keep them on the agenda.

The next thing that will need to be done is to find a good set of lawyers, who are interested in fishing. They need to be on the case, finding the appropriate laws, that can be used to take action against those who inflict any kind of environmental loss on the fishing areas.
You will need to take small steps to build an effective organisation from the ground up. The lawyers will have to be prepared to give up free time, and you guys will need to be able to form a body that can operate within the law. I suspect you will need to draft a constitution, elect officers to posts like Chair, Secretary, Treasurer etc.

It may be that WASI can extend their remit, but it may be better to have a separate body working for WASI and other similar organisations, so there is no question of diverting the thrust of what WASI do.

When myself and Mark are in Bangalore, I'll bring the constitution of the ACA, so you can see how they are established.
Basically, they use Common Law to take polluters to court for cases usually invoking loss of recreational habitat. As most individuals, clubs, associations and landowners in the UK have to pay for fishing, there is a real determination to protect the fishing. It may be that you will have to institute more fishing and wildlife associations.

Once again, we need to keep talking, so we operate on the same wavelength and little by little take some positive steps to ensure the viability of the Indian river environments.
For some, having decent fishing protected will be their personal aim. For others, they will want to be involved in a fight against bureaucracy and corruption.
Personally, I would like to see the protection of wild creatures in a sustainable habitat, which benefits me, as an angler, and the local population as a vital life-sustaining resource. Both are compatible and help to serve the other.

As the eyes and ears of the aquatic population, we have a duty to work to protect it.

Thoughts please...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:45 am 
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Steve,

What does ACA stand for exactly? (assuming branding is important). My grey cells are tickled here.

We have similar problems here in Malaysia, where laws are established (some!) but enforcement is next to zilch. People get away with (fish) murder, literally.

I'm currently leading a small NGO called KAGUM; Kelah Action Group of Malaysia (kelah is local name for mahseer here). We try to help the govt and other bodies conserve the rivers and their fishes. We are thus a 'soft' group; quietly building awareness on river conservation and pollution and related issues, via handouts, talks, display booths at certain events etc.

Recently, we started a fun activity called River Clean-Up. We choose a river stretch which is frequented by picknickers and such, go there on a sunday and pick up the rubbish. Handouts on river conservation are given out too. It proved to be a hit, both for members as well as the public. They started helping us!

Oops, back to your issue! Yes, there's a need to have an organisation that pursues these culprits and reset the culture. The govt always need some 'help' :wink: .

There was a case here recently, where several individuals were caught red-handed netting hundreds of mahseer in a restricted National Park river by the park rangers. They were handed over to the 'relevant body', who was quoted as saying: "We need to make further investigations, to determine whether these individuals were fishing for commercial reasons, or for feeding their families...' I felt like getting a gun.

Steve, do you think a fishing association can play this vigilante role? I was made to understand that Denmark, a relatively small country, has a fishing association with about 50,000 members, with strong influence in govt, and has professional scientists and administrators running their office. This is what strength in numbers (and money) can do. The results are stupendous, from where I'm fishing, er , sitting. Straigthened rivers (read drains) were restored to their original meandering ways, The fishes came back naturally, including the sea trout and salmon. Children education is also a focus area It's the children who later educte the adults.

Does India have an angling association? Maybe that would be a good idea. The next step would be to persuade influential individuals to be part of it, whilst going for the numbers. One key success factor ouwld be having a core group that makes sure the association sticks to the cause, and not be too swayed by politics.

Just my sincere thoughts.

><<:>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:45 pm 
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JB,

I am a volunteer in a group called "Clean & Green" and this group has made several trips to the Cauvery to clean up the plastic in places like Mekedatu, Sangam and more recently Mutthatti.

Jungle Lodges has supported us by:
- offering lunch to the volunteers
- carrying the plastic collected to the nearest town for disposal
- permitting us to talk to their camp guests not to litter but to carry back the plastic.

Our trip report with a photo or two goes to the MD of Jungle Lodges and also to the PCCF ( Head of the Forest Department). No support from the Forest Dept. yet.

Outrigorsandeep


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:37 am 
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Bro Outrigor,

Muttati is a huge problem :shock: . I was there just before christmas. During the weekend, huge crowds gather at the river side. At the 'main street' of the village, this guy has a rope strung across it, collecting 'toll'! Signs of progress!

By end of sunday, plastic rubbish layover a mega carpet of white chicken feathers!

Maybe there should be a major community cleaning drive done to start with, involving the Mtatti people. Then follow up with regular clean ups held on sunday mornings. Gotta clean the place when the crowds are there, to show example. Joe Assasa suggested that a sort of site cleaning ranger be employed, and visitors are tacketed for a few rupees for the cleanin expenses.

><<:>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:43 pm 
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Hi all, sorry it's taken so long to get back to the many mails and postings, but I do a lot of work over the Xmas period. This year has also seen my first angling DVDs released, as well, so it's been extra busy this year.

Thanks to all who have wished a Happy Xmas and a peaceful New Year etc, I hope we can all benefit from a successful 2007.

JB, the ACA stands for Angler's Conservation Association. They are a voluntary funded organisation, raising money by subscription and a variety of other events.
They were founded around 1947, and now employ their own lawyers, who specialise in using Common Law, to take polluters to court. Some of their actions even take the Environment Agency- who are supposed to be the protectors of our waterways- to court for allowing others to pollute!

It is great that people are taking the lead in trying to clean up an environment. One of the main benefits of your kind of action, Sandeep, is that others see how important an issue rubbish is to you and slowly, they decide for themselves that they need to do something about it as well.
So keep going with those small bits of direct action, it may be disheartening in the short term to see your work constantly undone, but it will begin to have an impact, I'm sure.

One thing is for sure, actions like those of the Clean & Green group make life better for all those who live in that environment. They may not realise how much your actions begin to improve their lot, but hopefully they will realise one day, as more of them get involved and understand the implications of rubbish in the river.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 7:24 pm 
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Hope everyone is too busy to get involved with this debate at the minute :?

Doing some background work here to see how we can move things on in a variety of ways.

So, to protect a river, you need to have someone jumping up and down and shouting about:

Chapter III, article 14 (a), section vi) and vii) of the Indian Constitution, Interstate Water Disputes Act.

vi) says the Water Boards must control soil erosion and promote afforestation
vii) says they must prevent pollution

They are the kinds of things you guys will have to chase unless you can set up a body to ensure the Water Boards are doing their job.

I'm well aware of the way Central Govt and the Supreme Court operate, but unless someone starts to take a stand, nothing gets done.

Come on, start talking to me...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:06 am 
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Location: Uttaranchal
Hi Steve,

Mahseer rivers in Uttaranchal are owned by the Forest Dept, not the Water Board.
Great sleuthing there, the IWD Act bit, I mean.

Alright, who's taking that stand? Asif? Let's get WANI going, macha, what?

Cheers,

V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:13 pm 
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Hi Vedan,
My stand is clear.I will do the song and dance et al-need some help to start.I want to give back unto the sport -even before I catch me a 10lb mahseer...hope thats not too radical an attitude for a newbie? :twisted:
Sure thing, lets get a fishing NG registered and start the drums!
Any one know how to start a wildlife related NGO?
Best
Axx


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:16 pm 
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Way-hey, we're talking.

Thanks for coming back, you guys.

V, as I understand it, the Water Boards are there to arbitrate disputes. I would think they have the final say on what happens to rivers anywhere in India. They should take priority over the Forestry Dept.

A, I was talking to Redfin yesterday about several issues, including the mail you sent me last week. What we intend to do over the next couple of weeks is draw up some ten-point guides to starting a variety of groups.
Expect they will be:
A fishing club
A River Trust
A National Environmental NGO

Still a long way to go, not least because whatever you do in the short term, most of the general public, local politicians etc will ignore you until you make some progress.
Hopefully, then, you will start to get recognition and you will not be able to be ignored!

Me and Mark will not be able to come to the North this year, but we are making plans for the future. Hopefully, we will be visiting an established WANI and also trying to pull together interested parties throughout SE Asia.

Once again, keep talking
Every time you talk, there is the chance that a newcomer will hear, and for every newcomer who hears, there is a chance a newcomer will act...


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 Post subject: Fishing NGO
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:25 pm 
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For all you WASI (in particular, and other Anglers with the same concern)
guys in here,
you must have read some of the threads reg. conservation and trying to help build angling NGO up here?
With my limited exposure -just one trip to the WASI cottage in Oct with Rustam,I am impressed that you have something going-for all its flipside (what ever it is!) fish are being caught, no dynamiting and thyre seems to be major light at the end of the tunnel...
Well, as Vedan put it succintly, we are looking very strongly at a WILDLIFE (or even Angling) Association of North India...
Rather than re invent the wheel, we need help out here.
I am not a PETA type, had my share of blood sport in S Africa and for the record, have caught exactly 3 fish, the largest was approx 5 kg.All n the last 8 months.

When I tried to go fishing out here in Delhi, all i got was putrid , black waters and a 'mutant' species of a cat! :oops: Made me think, I want to be able to have fun and at the same time, want my fellow anglers to have enjoy this very exhilarating sport, and develop it...
May be a bit of a radical departure from the accepted models - people of experience, connections etc starting an organisation! This one is a newbie and saying it in print.I dont want to be president for life or lord high fisherman or rake in the moolah, thank you-want to be able to take my kids and friends out fishing... 8)
Any help forthcoming?
Obviously , not limited to WASI, all are welcome to put in their opinions/advice/help.
PS- leave Mr.Ego out of the door while we are at it? :twisted:
email is asif.xtc@gmail.com.
Best
Axx


Last edited by eljefe on Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:29 pm
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Location: Bangalore, INDIA
Though I post rearely here but I am a regular visitor and read all the posts. I must say this is a thread in right direction. Even i was thinking of doing something like WASI in north India and there can't be a better place than Uttarnchal.

Go ahead guys.. will do my bit as required.

-Inder


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:48 pm 
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Location: Devon, England
Hi Inder, don't forget that one of the most positive things you can do is to talk to people about the threats facing the rivers.
Mention things like illegal logging, dumping any kind of rubbish, etc. The more these things are in the open, especially amongst non-anglers, the more chance you will get recognition when a group starts.

BTW, also noticed Article 47 of the Constitution talks about improving public health. That could be used to help protect rivers from pollution in tribal areas, or where water is used to supply a town or city.
Article 48a talks about protection and improvement of the environment, especially with regard to forests and wildlife.


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 Post subject: Clean and Green
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:38 pm 
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Location: Bangalore
Hi Steve and others,

Two of us volunteers from Clean and Green met the Panchayat President ( elected representative of the local self government) on Jan 10th and he has assured us of his support to keep the river side clean.

We also met Fr. Abraham, a Catholic Priest, who has been working with and for the local community for the past 17 years. He too offered his support.

With the help of the Manager of Jungle Lodges and Resorts we are trying to involve the Range Forest Officer.

Our next clean up drive is scheduled for Jan.21st.

We need your good wishes and support.

Regards,

Outrigorsandeep


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:25 pm 
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Thanks for the mail Sandeep, I'll write to the PCCF and try to chivvy him along.
Good luck for the 21st, perhaps you should do the same on the 25th every year and tell as many people as possible that you are doing the Republic Day clean up for the good of the country! Maybe a few more would join in then?

Just been told by the head of our ACA that there is a group working on the Ganges. They are at:

www.friendsofganges.org

Had a look at the site, but it seems it has not been updated for a year. Perhaps they need a prod to remind them that there are people who care about the work they may be doing.
Vedan and Eljefe, this is more your neck of the woods, and perhaps they could help you two in moving the fight further upstream?


If you've had enough of talking, why not try shouting? :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:21 pm 
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Hope Mark doesn't mind. This is copied from his post on the mahseer species thread, but it is more appropriate here:

"The big picture is really simple. We need fish. Fish need healthy rivers, unpolluted and rich in habitat without obstructions, etc. Healthy rivers support diverse wildlife and provide clean water for irrigation, industry and human consumption, etc. In this virtuous circle, great mahseer and human wellbeing are synonymous, with the economic benefits bestowed on us by that healthy river system providing incentives for us to manage and use it sustainably. However, the big picture is the easy bit!

'Real' rivers have different owners with different vested interests, often many with pressing subsistence needs that over-ride any bigger vision, and often no clear understanding by governments of how rivers behave (or degrade) as whole integrated systems dependent upon all their parts.

We in Europe have trashed most of our rivers, so don't look for us for examples of the Holy Grail!

However, research around the world and a more long-established set of environmental legislation and body of common law has given us certain tools that may be of use to you guys to do good by your rivers.

Can the politicians be enthused by this big picture and is anyone able to help us open doors to them?

Do we know the key constraints to the wellbeing of the ecosystem in different river reaches, be that pollution, abstraction, poaching, habitat loss, run-off from agriculture, etc? And if so can we identify solutions that can be raised to those with economic or political power as a set of 'building blocks' to a healthier river system?

What legislation works elsewhere, and how can this be translated into something workable in an Indian context?

How can the common law be applied and developed to protect people's rights to fishing and a healthy environment (as enshrined in the Indian Constitution amongst other places) and does anyone know of any lawyers who want to play ball? We have a great model in the UK with an NGO body known as the ACA (Anglers' Conservation Association).

Is it possible to engage sets of vested positive interests in a catchment in acting together? There are models in the UK in terms of River Trusts, but also in India such as the Friends of the Ganges, etc. What works, and how can we string this together?

So lots of questions! This is what Steve and I will tackle this year, as well as trying to catch some stunning fishes. We will not be ungrateful for any offer of help. Ultimately, it is down to local champions... we don't live in India and are keenly aware that we don't want to be seen as meddling outsiders. But between us we do have some useful experience that we'd like to share with the right folks to get things moving on the ground."

Posted in Mahseer/mahseer species by Redfin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:12 am 
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HI Steve

Been away for some time. There are a few angling associations that I know of.. and there are quite a few 'environment' lawyers who will work pro-bono as long as the NGO does all the ground work/paper work.

Count me in for the conservation effort - am a good fighter :twisted:

all the best

Viraj


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:10 pm 
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Hi Viraj,
You guys up North will have to go it alone at first. But you can always post, email, PM for any help you want.
I think me and Mark will have our hands full on the Kaveri.
Talking to Mark today about fish gene pool and will also try to start drawing up guidelines for establishing River Trust and Environmental Protection group.

Why don't you try dropping an email to friendsofganges to see if they are still in operation?

Maybe they are waiting for someone to get interested in their work, that might give them a new impetus.


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 Post subject: aca
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:27 pm 
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Steve, I wouldnt mind a copy of the constitution of the ACA, as I am in conversation with the lalbagh authorities, to start an angling club at the lake in the garden. regards.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:37 pm 
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OK Bobby, I'll bring one along.
Going to finish m packing now :D


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