Bhutan: A Pioneer in Mahseer Conservation

Bhutan has a rich aquatic biodiversity and Mahseers is one of the largest fish which reins our  aquatic ecosystems.Two Mahseer species are found in Bhutan’s major river; Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora) which is listed as Endangered in IUCN Red list and the near threatened Chocolate Mahseer (Neolissochilush exagonolepsis).

Golden Mahseer are considered one of the majestic of all fish species found in the fresh waters of South Asia and in Bhutan, it is revered as one of the eight lucky signs, Sernya: The Golden Fish. Golden mahseer is listed as a Schedule I species in the Forests and Nature Conservation Act 1995. Yet, illegal fishing is still a concern. Efforts have been put in by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests for Mahseer research and conservation works in Bhutan and our works are being applauded by the conservationists across the world.

The Ministry was honoured to have organised the first International Mahseer Conference (IMC) in Paro in December 2018. Subsequent to this, on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, the Royal Government of Bhutan, Dr. Tashi Samdup, the Director General of the Department of Livestock handed over the “Baton” of the Bhutan Declaration of the 1st IMC to Dr. Apinun Suvarnaraksha, the Director of the 2nd IMC, Maejo University. It was held from 12-14 February 2020 at Chiang Mai, Thailand.

In his key note, Dr. Tashi besides giving a general context on aquatic biodiversity and mahseer conservation, he highlighted on the impacts of the 1st IMC held in Bhutan. For instance, Bhutan Declaration, an outcome of the 1st IMC identified key issues and strategies for Mahseer conservation in Bhutan which the Ministry is keenly following up and addressing as recommended. As, Thailand take up in organising the 2nd IMC, Dr. Tashi conveyed the good wishes to the organisers, delegates and conservation partners. He further shared that Bhutan remains committed towards safeguarding the aquatic ecosystems and ensuring a safe haven for Mahseer.


Department of Livestock


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