Mahseer ‘could become extinct’

The man who was told to fish, not fight, in WW1
10th July 2015

Mahseer ‘could become extinct’

A shoal of Golden Mahseer in a tributary of the Ganges, north west India.

The giant mahseer of India’s river Cauvery could become extinct within a generation. Pollution, hydropower projects and blue-finned mahseer, which are not native to the river but were introduced to improve fishing, are all factors sending the population of the orange-finned or humpbacked mahseer to dangerously low levels. Introducing non-native mahseer to boost stocks for anglers has acted as a catalyst that has had a catastrophic effect on the numbers of endemic mahseer, warn scientists who have been studying the species. The humpback mahseer, which is only found in the river Cauvery and its tributaries, can grow larger than 120lb. Adrian Pinder of the UK’s Bournemouth University and Rajeev Raghavan of St Albert’s College in Kerala, south-west India, says their priority is to source specimens of the humpbacked mahseer.“If we are not already too late, obtaining DNA will allow us to get it classified as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. Their findings are are reported in the international conservation journal Endangered Species Research.

Keith Elliott
Keith Elliott
Editor and publisher of Classic Angling magazine. Founder member of UK Angling Writers' Association and current chairman. Former winner of Writer of the Year. I wrote a weekly angling column for The Independent for 23 years, having previously written columns for The Guardian and Sunday Mirror. If it swims, I'll fish for it: marlin or mackerel, trout or tench, salmon or snook. I've written several books on fishing, from one for the Duke of Edinburgh's award to the notorious Catchmore Sharks (don't look at the pictures) and Bob Nudd's autobiography, How to be the World's Best Fisherman. I love exotic travel for fishing (been to Mongolia and Ecuador, the Great Barrier Reef and Arunachal Pradesh) and wish I could afford to do such trips more often. My favourite fish? Anything with fins, though I have a special love for mahseer, and I’m Founder and former Chairman of the Masher Trust.

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