Amid overflow due to heavy rainfall

Authorities warn of threats to fish population in Kurdistan’s dam reservoirs

SULAYMANIYAH – As heavy rainfall swells water levels in Kurdistan’s dams, local Fisheries officials recommend installing sturdy netting systems to contain fish within their natural habitats and mitigate the adverse effects of reservoir overflow on aquatic ecosystems.

Salah Majid, Sulaymaniyah’s Director of Fisheries, suggested “installing a dense and suitable network before the water exit points of the dams … to prevent the fish from moving out of their habitats.” This approach aims to balance the benefits of increased water reserves with the protection of aquatic life, ensuring the sustainability of vital fish stocks essential for local consumption and economic stability.

Majid’s remarks coincide with the overflow of the Dukan and Darbandikhan dams in the Kurdistan Region, heightening concerns regarding the survival and preservation of fish populations in the region. Despite Kurdistan’s annual production of over 3,500 tons of fish through licensed projects and reservoirs, there remains a significant shortfall of approximately 80,000 tons per year to achieve self-sufficiency.

While the rise in dam and lake water levels is generally advantageous for water resources, Majid pointed out the risks posed to local fish ecosystems by current water discharge methods, warning of the potential loss of thousands of fish species from local reservoirs without the implementation of effective netting systems.

Of particular concern is the escape of fish downstream as water is released from reservoirs, preventing their return. This issue is exacerbated during the current season, characterized by increased fish populations. Species such as common carp, barbel, catfish, salmon, grass carp, and silver carp are at risk.

Majid urged the Kurdish Ministry of Water Resources and other relevant authorities to urgently address this issue, emphasizing the need to safeguard these valuable natural resources by preventing fish from leaving their habitats.