Fish conservation becomes popular in Uttarakhand

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Banghat (Uttarakhand), June 3 (ANI): Several villages in Uttrakhand's Banghat region have been seeing improvement in their economies through their conservation efforts of the freshwater fish, the Golden Mahseer.

The fish used to be abundant in the River Ramganga, which flows through the Jim Corbett National Park, but became endangered to the point of extinction due to illegal fishing and usage of low-intensity explosives.

Conservationists stepped up their efforts to grow its numbers and recruited locals, educating them on the importance of the Golden Mahseer, particularly its role in the local ecosystem.

"It's a very rich ecosystem here, and the Mahseer and other fish play the most important role," said Sumantha Ghosh, founder President, Mahseer Conservancy, Banghat.

The conservation efforts have succeeded so well that now the villagers offer opportunities to sportsmen for controlled angling in the Ramganga.

The money generated by such sales, usually between Rs 1,200 to 1,500 is divided amongst the guides, the Mahseer Conservancy forum and the villages.

"Earlier the Mahseer used to be found in large numbers but slowly due to poaching and bombing, the Mahseer almost vanished. With gradual increase in tourism and our involvement in the project, the population of the Mahseer has increased in the river. Their number is better than before and tourists are coming to fish in this area," said Manoj Negi, a local guide for the Mahseer.

The Mahseer is considered to be the most prized catch among freshwater fishes. It reaches lengths up to nine feet and can weigh as much as 54 Kg. (ANI)

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