In the month of March 2018, we spent a good three weekends just below the Gulpur dam and were able to hook, land and release almost 30 Mahseers - the biggest being almost 45 pounds.
Everyone except I had packed their rods, when on almost my last cast, I felt the massive tug and rush of a fish and instinctively knew by the sheer force that I had hooked on to a Mahseer. An indescribable joy and fear at the same time (of not wanting to lose the fish) surged through my brain.
Rafique, an eminent expert on fish in Pakistan who encouraged the two to look into the saving of the Mahseer fish - which also happened to be Pakistan's national fish, much like our national animal is the Markhor.
Rafique informed the duo that the Mahseer fish was almost extinct in Pakistan but there were a few pockets of the fish on the Poonch River.
Mahseers (Tor species) are distributed in South- east Asian and Himalayan regions including trans- Himalayan countries like Pakistan, India, Nepal, Myanmar and South-east Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao-PDR, Vietnam etc.
Key words: Semi-intensive, polyculture, Mahseer, Rohu, Mrigal, Thaila, FCR, SGR.
The fish has now been identified as a critically endangered in many countries and depletion of mahseer populations is reported from various parts of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India (Mirza et al., 1994; Kulkarni, 1991; Dubey, 1994; IUCN, 1998; Hussain and Mazid, 2001; Shrestha, 1994).
The available studies on mahseer primarily focus on taxonomy, morpho-metery and breeding (Chaturvedi, 1976; Chandra and Haque, 1982; De Silva et al., 2004; Brett et al., 2005; Naeem et al., 2010).
Among Mahseers, Indus Mahseer Tor macrolepis is the important game and food fish of Pakistan.
Hamilton (1822) first classified mahseers and placed Tor species under the genus Cyprinus.
Subsequently most of the authors listed four species of mahseers from Pakistan (Mirza, 1975 and 1981); T.
The freshwater fishes of the genus Tor commonly known as Mahseer with wide distribution in Southern Asia from Afghanistan in the West to Thailand and Malaysia in the East and also present in China, are medium to large sized barbs occurring in Pakistan, Indonesia, South and Southeast Asia including the Indian peninsula (Heckel, 1838; Serene, 1951; Menon, 1992; Naeem et al., 2011).