Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

God's fishes: religion, culture and freshwater fish conservation in India

  • Nishikant Gupta (a1), Arun Kanagavel (a2), Parineeta Dandekar (a3), Neelesh Dahanukar (a4), Kuppusamy Sivakumar (a5), Vinod B. Mathur (a6) and Rajeev Raghavan (a2)...
Abstract
Abstract

Indigenous communities worldwide have long relied on their environment for survival. Religious and customary beliefs that foster community conservation have not only bound these communities to ecosystems but also assisted in the conservation of species. We provide an example of how religion fosters the conservation of freshwater fishes in India. Since ancient times rural communities in India have revered fish species as symbols of divine power, and offered them protection in pools associated with temples. Such voluntary, informal institutions and arrangements continue to help conserve several freshwater fish species that are otherwise subjected to anthropogenic pressure in open-access areas. However, religious beliefs in India are waning as a result of increased urbanization, modernization of societies and disintegration of rural communities, and the sustainability of existing temple and community fish sanctuaries is questionable. We discuss the role of temple sanctuaries as an informal conservation strategy for freshwater fishes, and discuss the knowledge and policy gaps that need to be addressed for ensuring their future.

Copyright
Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail nishikantgupta@live.in
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Anthwal , N. Gupta , A. Sharma , S. Anthwal & K.H. Kim (2010) Conserving biodiversity through traditional beliefs in sacred groves in Uttarakhand Himalaya, India. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 54, 962971.

F. Berkes (2004) Rethinking community-based conservation. Conservation Biology, 18, 621630.

S.A. Bhagwat , N. Dudley & S.R. Harrop (2011) Religious following in biodiversity hotspots: challenges and opportunities for conservation and development. Conservation Letters, 4, 234240.

S.A. Bhagwat & M. Palmer (2009) Conservation: the world's religions can help. Nature, 461, 37.

S.A. Bhagwat & C. Rutte (2006) Sacred groves: potential for biodiversity management. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4, 519524.

S.F. Carrizo , K.G. Smith & W.R.T. Darwall (2013) Progress towards a global assessment of the status of freshwater fishes (Pisces) for the IUCN Red List: application to conservation programmes in zoos and aquariums. International Zoo Yearbook, 47, 4664.

N. Dudley , L. Higgins-Zogib & S. Mansourian (2009) The links between protected areas, faiths, and sacred natural sites. Conservation Biology, 23, 568577.

N. Gupta , K. Sivakumar , V.B. Mathur & M.A. Chadwick (2014c) Thetiger of Indian rivers’: stakeholders’ perspectives on the golden mahseer as a flagship fish species. Area, 46, 389397.

N. Gupta , K. Sivakumar , V.B. Mathur & M.A. Chadwick (2015) Terrestrial protected areas and managed reaches conserve threatened freshwater fish in Uttarakhand, India. PARKS, 21, 89101.

J.M. Hutton & N. Leader-Williams (2003) Sustainable use and incentive-driven conservation: realigning human and conservation interests. Oryx, 37, 215226.

D.D.P. Johnson & O. Krüger (2004) The good of wrath: supernatural punishment and the evolution of cooperation. Political Theology, 5, 159176.

C.P. Kala (2011) Traditional ecological knowledge, sacred groves and conservation of biodiversity in the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve of India. Journal of Environmental Protection, 2, 967973.

A. Kanagavel , R. Pandya , A. Prithvi & R. Raghavan (2013) Multi-stakeholder perceptions of efficiency in biodiversity conservation at limited access forests of the southern Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 5, 45294536.

A. Kanagavel , R. Raghavan & D. Veríssimo (2014) Beyond the “general public”: implications of audience characteristics for promoting species conservation in the Western Ghats Hotspot, India. Ambio, 43, 138148.

R. Kumar & K.R. Devi (2013) Conservation of freshwater habitats and fishes in the Western Ghats of India. International Zoo Yearbook, 47, 7180.

A. Norenzayan & A.F. Shariff (2008) The origin and evolution of religious prosociality. Science, 322, 5862.

M.J. Rossano (2007) Supernaturalizing social life: religion and the evolution of human cooperation. Human Nature, 18, 272294.

C. Rutte (2011) The sacred commons: conflicts and solutions of resource management in sacred natural sites. Biological Conservation, 144, 23872394.

R.K. Sinha (1995) Biodiversity conservation through faith and tradition in India: some case studies. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 2, 278284.

D.L. Strayer & D. Dudgeon (2010) Freshwater biodiversity conservation: recent progress and future challenges. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 29, 344358.

A. Yachkaschi & S. Yachkaschi (2012) Nature conservation and religion: an excursion into the Zoroastrian religion and its historical benefits for the protection of forests, animals and natural resources. Forest Policy and Economics, 20, 107111.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 69 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 409 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.