Environment conservationists say the population of Golden Mahaseer will decline by 80 percent if the mega hydro projects continue to come up. It is reported that the population has already declined by 50 percent due to habitat disturbances caused by the ongoing construction of mega hydropower projects in the country and disruption caused by anthropogenic activities.
Therefore, the National Centre for Aquaculture (NCA), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests is working towards conserving the endangered fish species through various means. NCA has established a hatchery-cum- conservation centre to serve as the hub for technologies, data and information related to the artificial breeding of the endangered Golden Mahaseer and other native fish.
Such a technology is expected to refine the rudimentary golden mahaseer breeding protocol and develop technologies to artificially breed other fish like Chocolate Mahaseer.
Further, NCA has developed a local technology for the conservation of the endangered fish.
NCA has about 1,500 of fingerlings weighing 14 grams and another 3,000 hatchlings being reared to fingerlings.
The fingerlings which were produced artificially at the NCA will be released into the country’s natural waters to restock the fish numbers and maintain rich fish population in the waters.
The fingerlings from the first ever brood, about 1,200 fingerlings were released in the Rongri-Chhu hot springs area in Gelephu in April this year.
NCA has been collecting fingerlings from the wild and rearing them in earthen ponds at the centre towards developing a set of viable brood-stock since 1995, and as of today, the centre boast of about 300 mature Golden Mahaseer which are being nurtured for breeding.
Last year, NCA was able to strip hundreds of eggs from a gravid female Golden Mahaseer and incubate them successfully in makeshift incubators
The Golden Mahaseer is found in Punatsangchu in Punakha, Wangdue, Dagana, Mangdechu in Trongsa-Zhemgang region and Sarpangchu, Mouchu, Bhurchu Phibsoochu, Taklaichu and Kanimakarachu in Sarpang.