The forest and rivers of north east India are deemed as precious biodiversity hotspots by scientists and wildlife experts. The several rare and endangered animals, birds, reptiles and fish species found in the region are of immense importance to nature and wildlife enthusiasts. The golden mahseer- also called ‘tiger of the river’ is one important fish species found in rivers of North east India. It is found more in Jia Bharoli River along with Lohit and Subansiri Rivers.
Nuances of Golden Mahseer
The Golden mahseer is known mostly as a fresh water sport fish. It has golden hue on dorsal side and the fins tend to be reddish yellow. The thick powerful lips and large scales are also characteristic of the fish. It is omnivorous as far as feeding habit is concerned. It prefers staying in fast-moving waters and therefore is found in abundance in Himalayan region hill streams. It can be as long as 9 feet and weigh close to 70 kg. The fish is known for its stamina and even experienced anglers find it tough to catch this fish. It has been declared as state fish of Arunachal Pradesh.
Related: Angling At Arunachal Pradesh
Golden Mahseer in north east India
In North east India, Jia Bhoroli River has the largest population of the Golden mahseer. Since the British era, it has been targeted as a popular destination for angling lovers. The area where the river passes through Nameri National park in Sonitpur district is popular for angling. The river originates in Arunachal Pradesh where it is called Kameng.
Related: Eco Resorts in North Eastern States
Over the decades, the population of Golden mahseer in Jia Bhoroli and other major rivers of north east India have suffered a decline. The decrease in population has been caused by factors like pollution, deposit of chemicals in rivers and excessive angling activities. The low breeding rate and longer hatching period coupled with construction of several dams on its migration route has also led to decline of population. Despite laws that prohibit catching of Golden mahseer, clandestine catching of this fish is done at several stretches of Jia Bharoli.
Conservation efforts to preserve Golden Mahseer in North East India
The wildlife lovers and conservation groups have been vocal about the need to preserve natural habitat of the Golden Mahseer in north east India. The Assam (Bhorelli) Angling and Conservation Association has played a key role behind this. It has taken up artificial breeding project under guidance of Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research.