3-7 December, Paro: Mahseer is a critically endangered species of fish in the Himalayan region which is often referred as the ‘tiger’ of the water. With its species under increasing pressure across southern Asia, the experts have come together to discuss their growing threats and the most effective strategies for their long-term survival at the first International Mahseer Conference.
The conference includes renowned experts in the biology and behaviour of Mahseer species as well as leaders in the fields of freshwater fish conservation, fisheries management, valuing and conserving rivers, environmental protection and sustainable development. They will share the latest research findings, management concerns, potential solutions and conservation strategies on Mahseer as there is still much to learn about Mahseer including their migration patterns, reproductive behaviour, juvenile survival, critical habitats and the impact of human activities on Mahseer.
Addressing the opening ceremony, the Chief Guest, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor shared that Mahseer is spiritually important in Bhutan and it needs healthy water ecosystem. He stressed on the need of science based management and strong commitments to bring out the Mahseer as a focal aquatic species which is a big challenge. He added that the conference will provide an opportunity for Bhutan to showcase yet another conservation leadership.
The Agriculture Secretary, Dasho Rinzin Dorji highlighted that the Mahseer populations is being threatened throughout their range. He added the more we would know about what impacts their life history, the better we can establish conservation measures to ensure that they are here for future generations. Speaking further, he acknowledged the team for making an instrumental contribution in conserving the Mahseer.
Mr. Michael Philipp from the Fisheries Conservation Foundation (FCF), USA shared that Mahseer is an iconic species that people would care about and potentially attract high-end fisheries around the world to come to Bhutan.
According to a spokesperson, the conference is being organised into four themes on biology, threats and mitigation, conservation, and management and recreational fishing.
The conference will provide a forum for experts to produce a proceedings that will have components such as future research agendas, recommended strategies for conservation and management of Mahseer, recommended actions to build capacity in Bhutan and collaborative partnerships.
Organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, WWF Bhutan and FCF, the conference also includes the launching of 2018 Living Planet Report and fisheries website, poster session, roundtable workshop and a field trip to the National Research Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries in Haa among others.
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