National Research and Development Centre for Aquaculture (NR&DCA) Gelephu, is the apical government aquaculture centre that the one of mandates is to contribute directly to the preservation of the natural aquatic environmental integrity and conservation of the endangered Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora).
Tor Putitora (Hamilton, 1822) commonly called as Golden Mahseer, is a fresh water fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. It is highly regarded as source of nutritious food and as an excellent game fish sought by recreational fishing enthusiasts for its remarkable fighting ability. It grows to maximum size of 2.75 m length and 54 kg weight.
It is found in Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Pakistan, Viet Nam and also in Bhutan. In Bhutan, Golden Mahseer are found in Punatshangchhu, Amochhu, Wangchhu in western part of the country and major rivers like Mangdechhu and Punatshangchhu have traditionally been considered safe haven for Mahseer and it is also found in Sarpangchhu, Bhurchhu, Phibsoochhu, TakaliChhu, Mowchhu and Kanimakarachhu in Sarpang region around the southern foothills.
Today, the natural populations of Golden Mahseer areunder great threat of extinction across the area of its distribution due to reckless human activities such as over-fishing and other extrinsic activities.Therefore, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) assesses Tor putitora as an endangered species and points out that there is an urgent need for conservation efforts to save it from becoming extinct in several locations (International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN], 2013).
Even in Bhutan, it is reported that in recent years, with the constructions of hydropower facilities being constructed on the major rivers and it is believed that the fish’s traditional routes for spawning migration therein and breeding and nursing grounds upstream have been undermined significantly. Therefore, the urgent need of serious conservation effort of Golden mahseer was suggested by Royal Government of Bhutan in coordination with National Research and Development Centre for Aquaculture (NR&DCA), Gelephu, Bhutan back in 2012.
The Centre breeds and release the live Golden Mahseer fingerlings and conduct quality aquaculture research apart from several important activities that the centre is mandated to carry out. One of the important activities for FY 2018-2019 includes artificial breeding of Golden Mahseer and produces 5000 nos of Golden Mahseer fingerlings.
By NR&DCA Management.