Conservation efforts of Golden Mahaseer (The King of the Sport Fish): ‘GNH in Practise’

The Director of Livestock and tje Sarpang Dzongdag declaring the occassion open
The Director of Livestock declaring the occassion open

28 March, Gelephu: The Golden Mahaseer is a beautiful fish which is facing the great threat of extinction across the area of its distribution due to reckless human activities such as over-fishing and other extrinsic activities.

As part of its conservation efforts, the National Centre for Aquaculture (NCA) in Gelephu in collaboration with Department of Forest and Park Services, Dzongkhag Administration and the Gelephug Thromdey released 1200 numbers of its fingerlings in the Rongri-Chhu Hot Springs area in Gelephu. The occasion was graced by the Director, Sarpang Dzongdag, Thrompoen, Superintendent of Police, Forest Park Managers and various officials of the Sarpang Dzongkhag along with the residents of Tshachu (hot springs).

In his welcome address, Mr. Namgay Dorji, the Program Director for NCA mentioned the occasion to release hatchery-bred Golden Mahaseer fingerlings into natural waters as an initiative which is unique in the history of the country. He also mentioned that the fingerlings are the first ever Golden Mahaseer produced in Bhutan through human induced ex-situ (outside its natural environment) propagation which enables to release and restock such fish into its natural environment thereby enabling augmentation of its natural population.

1200 numbers of Golden Mahaseer fingerlings in the Rongri-Chhu Hot Springs area in Gelephu
1200 numbers of Golden Mahaseer fingerlings  were released in the Rongri-Chhu Hot Springs area in Gelephu

NCA has developed a local technology to breed this fish ex-situ, which is a sustainable intervention to provide a new era of hope for its conservation. The Department is committed to continue to work hard with relevant stakeholders towards conserving the Golden Mahaseer in our waters.

According to Dr. Tashi Samdup, the Director for the Department of Livestock the linkage of the conservation effort for Golden Mahaseer is in line with nation’s development philosophy of the Gross National Happiness. It is considered as the ‘King of the Sport Fish’ in light of its aggressiveness as a sport fish and because of its socio-economic importance.

Ecologically, the Golden Mahaseer is already reported to be declining by about 50% and is expected to decline by 80% in future due to habitat destruction and reproductive cycle disruptions caused by the anthropogenic activities as such it is totally protected species in the country. Culturally, the Golden Mahaseer is a part of our folklore and we used to hear our grandparents talking about catching a fish as big as the size of human beings which is obviously referred to Golden Mahaseer. Incidentally, one of the eight lucky signs Trashi Dargye is the Serngye locally believed to be this Golden Mahaseer.


– Reported by Towchu Rabgay, Livestock Officer/Media Focal, DoL

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