T. Petr and D.B. Swar have edited and published, at the FAO, a report (2002) entitled Cold Water Fisheries in the Trans-Himalayan Countries. The abstract:
The trans-Himalayan region encompasses a number of countries situated in the midland and highland areas of the Himalayas, Karakoram and, in a broad sense also, in Hindu Kush and Pamir. The mountains are characterized by a very low level of human development, with full exploitation or overexploitation of the natural resources. Fisheries play an important role in providing food and income to the mountain people. The Symposium on Cold Water Fishes of the Trans-Himalayan Region, held from 10 to 13 July 2001 in Kathmandu, Nepal, was attended by 70 participants from 10 countries. Comprising 32 presentations, the symposium reviewed information, experiences, ideas and findings related to fish and fisheries in the region. Special attention was given to fish species distribution, fishing intensity, socio-economic conditions and livelihoods of fisher communities, as well as to the impacts of environment degradation, conservation measures and aquaculture technologies on indigenous and exotic cold water fish. The symposium highlighted the role of fisheries in providing food and income to people within the trans-Himalayas and Karakoram. Recognizing the need to increase the role of aquatic resources in poverty alleviation, the symposium urged national governments to give greater attention to fisheries development in mountain areas. A number of priority issues were indentified, including collaborative action on a regional scale, which would probably be the most cost-effective way to address these common problems and to share experiences. The recommendations are expected to be addressed in follow-up activities under a trans-Himalayan regional programme.
Contained in the document is a report on research conducted into the domestication of wild golden mahseer (Tor putitora) and hatchery operations leading to the expansion of aquaculture of the species.
The mahseer is a robust species, amongst the largest of the world’s freshwater scaled fish. Six different species have been recognised under the genus, each of which inhabit very different environs. Some are indigenous to tropical waters with a high of 35°C, while others have adapted to sub-Himalayan regions where temperatures dip to 6°C in winter. The golden mahseer, capable of growing to a maximum of 2.75 metres in length and topping 200lb in weight, remains the king of its class.
From the abstract:
Golden mahseer (Tor putitora) are found in most of the south Asian countries including Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afganistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar. This popular game fish attains over 50 kg (Thapa, 1994). The population of this fish has been declining because of overfishing, also using destructive fishing methods such as electrofishing and poisoning, and because of the degradation of aquatic environment. India has already identified this fish as endangered (Shrestha, 1988a). Nepal and some other countries are in a stage of enlisting the fish as an endangered species. Strict application of the Aquatic Act and regular restocking of natural water bodies with appropriately sized mahseer can revive their stocks. A joint effort of restocking this migratory fish in the respective water bodies in the region can help to restore their stocks, and all countries should join a programme to revive the fish stocks in the lakes and rivers of their own. Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been attempting to develop large scale seed production technology of mahseer. Information on breeding of golden mahseer is readily available (Tripathi et al., 1977; Pathani and Das, 1979; Masuda and Banstola, 1984; Joshi, 1984; Shrestha 1987, 1988; Shrestha et al., 1990; Sehgal, 1991), but information on domestication of wild broodstock and its hatchery production is scanty (Ogale, this volume). The old practice has been to rear the wild mahseer in captivity. Brood fish grown in captivity can produce the required quantity of seed. Masuda and Banstola (1980) did not foresee the possibility of growing the wild breeders to sexual maturity in captivity. Shrestha (1990) believes that mahseer do not breed in stagnant reservoirs where water circulation is poor. However, the wild breeders grown in earthen ponds, not supplied with running water, attain sexual maturity and exhibit sexual play with the male chasing the female making a loop during the spawning time. The fish spawn twice a year. Its first spawning in April/May is followed by the second one in August/September. Males grown in captivity but it is difficult to sort out females just ready to spawn. This study describes the hatchery operation of wild golden mahseer reared in an earthen pond.