Decline in fish population prompts restocking of species

The National Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries (NCR&LF), Haa, is in the second phase of brown trout restocking following a decline in Bhutan’s natural fish population.

The first fish restocking program was held in Gomthang under Bumthang dzongkhag last year following a royal command and about 1,500 brown trout yearlings were restocked. In the second phase of fish restocking program in Thimphu Chhu more than 3000 healthy brown trout yearlings were restocked this year.

“The stocking program was aimed at replenishing the depleting brown trout stock and to develop good brown trout stock for future recreational and fishery development,” NCR&LF official Sangay Norbu said.

The population of brown trout is believed to have declined in many northern natural water bodies (streams and lakes) due to increasing developmental activities such as dam construction, sand and stone quarries, construction of flood protection facilities and roads. The restocking  in Thimphu Chhu was initiated after worries of the river becoming polluted.

The NCR&LF is currently involved in improvising and developing community based fishery resource management plans for farmers in potential areas such as Berthi in Zhemgang and Harachu in Wangdue.

NCR&LF is also involved in developing management plans including mitigations measures for aquatic resources in hydropower affected water bodies in collaboration with the National Environment Commission, Department of Forest and Park Services and hydropower projects.

The NCR&LF has bred three fish species of which the breeding technique of brown trout and rainbow trout has been standardized and the snow trout is still under research.

“Brown trout and snow trout would be used for stocking natural water bodies,” said Sangay Norbu.

The brown trout is stocked in areas or stream/river stretches where there is depletion in stock and also at stretches with potential to develop a fishery.

The center will also study the effect of brown trout on other native fish species.

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  1. This is based on opinion, not science. What surveys have proven a decline in brown trout populations? Even if that was true, that should have been a good thing. An exotic species is finally losing ground. We should be happy and try to increase our native fish population. I don’t understand why such foolishness is perpetuated. We never seem to learn. Bring back the golden trout and snow trout instead.

    • Indeed no surveys have been conducted to support the brown trout depleting stock in the river, and imagining just for a second here that is has, then why not? what implication could the brown trout dwelling have on the native species? No studies have been conducted to prove the brown trouts’ predation upon the native fishes. Not to mention that they are not even potential feeding competitors in the river ecosystem. And who of all, has standardized the native species of Bhutan. How can we be sure that the snow trout ( If that is your idea of the native fish) is purely native, and not from someplace else. Who has identified the permanent breeding and dwelling grounds of these fishes. Nevertheless, if proper attention is given, the seventh paragraph of the article above, iclearly states that the so called native fish ( snow trout) breeding techniques are under way and still under research, the main reason being the difficulty level that is involved in undertaking such an initiative. Countries around the world have tried and fail miserably when it comes to breeding snow trout in captivity, so a thought could be spared for the centre for atleast trying its best to curb this concern. Sir, a better protected riverine fishes is our priority aswell, and the moment we discover that such undertakings are having a counter affect to what the centre aspires, we assure you that we ll stop. 
      And speaking of your concern about the golden mahseer ( not the golden trout), well then you should be happy that soon a mahseer hatchery will be set up in Wangdue phodrang to address the declining mahseer stock. 

  2. I am not an expert. But I hope a multi-sectoral task force team (from DoL, DoFPS, NEC, RSPN, NBC, NRDCL etc.) comprising of fishery and ecology experts have done the scientific studies before introduction or re-introduction of fishes.

  3. Tell me a single fish expert who has done a thorough research on fishes of Bhutan in any river system. NONE. This restocking is bullshit because in absence of experts and science based report calling restocking as necessity, it is best to leave the management to nature. Restock it and wipe our native fishes………………..real bullshit. 

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