The potential impacts of non-native fish species on the mahseer of the Himalayas

Nishikant Gupta and Mark Everard

In early December 2018, Dr Nishikant Gupta visited Paro, Bhutan to deliver a presentation at the first ‘International Mahseer Conference 2018’. Nishikant is currently working at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal as a Programme Officer for the Koshi Basin Initiative (KBI), but is also a Visiting Research Fellow within the Department of Geography and Environmental Management (DGEM) at the University of the West of England.

Nishikant began his talk – ‘Ecological impacts of non-native fish on mahseer species’ – by providing an overview of the mahseer, also known as the ‘tiger of Himalayan Rivers’, the growing anthropogenic threats, and the potential impacts of the projected climate change trends (up to 2050) for the region on the species. He then described in detail the existing non-native fish species for the region, and how they have established stable populations and significantly increased their distribution. He concluded by identifying opportunities amidst the projected climate impacts, and how best to protect and conserve these threatened species and also support the livelihood security of dependent communities (both within and downstream of the region). The presentation also highlighted some of the gaps which need urgent intervention/attention by policy-makers. It was followed by a lively question-and-answer session with the other participants.