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| Last Updated:: 08/12/2016

Rajasthan breeds endangered 'Mahaseer' fish










After strenuous efforts of four years, the forest department has succeeded in breeding indigenous fish 'Mahaseer' in a hatchery in Udaipur. Rajasthan is the third state after Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh to raise the variety for Mahaseer as it is a cold water fish which is very difficult to maintain in the state considering the climate.



The female Mahaseer is known to swim against the flow for several kilometers upper reaches of small streams to spawn and its eggs hatch naturally while floating! As the Himachal government is raising 'Golden Mahaseer', Udaipur hatchery has produced 'Tor Khudree', a genre found in Cauvery river and its tributaries. Nearly 2,500 Mahaseers have come out of eggs recently.



"In 2012, we started by procuring 1,500 fries (hatchlings) from Tata Power's farm at Lonavala. We reared them to brooder stage by feeding them on special diet in the department's hatchery at Sajjangarh Biological Park and acclimatised them all these years to the local climatic conditions," Ismile Ali Durga, technical advisory of the project told TOI.



"The breeding attempts were made this year. Experts adopted stripping process to get mingled the eggs and sperms in floating trays. Perforated pipes were punctured at regular intervals to provide sufficient oxygenated water directly into the trays and on eggs. In this manner, 2,500 fries have been received," Durga said.



"At a time when Mahseer population is rapidly declining in number and size in natural waters which leads to the extinction of the species, the successful breeding in hatchery is a great achievement for the state not only from the conservation point of view but also in generating livelihood opportunities through angling," Rahul Bhatnagar, chief conservator of forest (wild life) told TOI. Through captive and induced breeding, the department further aims not only to preserve the gene of the endangered species, but also their rejuvenation in natural waters. Post three months when the fries grow up to the size of fingerlings, they may be released in pristine water bodies like Baghdara lake and others under forest cover to ensure their survival and conservation," Bhatnagar informed.



Reservoirs full with Mahaseer have immense potential for fishing which is a passionate sport among domestic and foreign visitors. While Himachal Pradesh has a well-developed hatchery with all facilities, state forest department undertook the task with a meager budget of RS 10 lakh which was granted to them under the tribal area development plan.



Mahaseer's presence in Rajasthan: Mahaseer is known as the Tiger of rivers for its size and inhabits in pollution free waters. Pollution, human interference, construction of check dams etc are resulting in its extinction. Conservation of Mahasheer is being taken up seriously as a nationwide program by the Ministry of Environment and Forest. There was abundance of Mahaseer in reservoirs connected with Chambal and Mahi river system. In southern Rajasthan, waters connected with Bedach river basin had abundance of Mahseer some three-four decades ago, but now, there is little trace of them. In Udaipur, Mahaseer is found in plenty in Badi Lake although they do not breed here.








Source: The Times of India