MP declares endangered 'Mahasheer' breed as state fish
After having declared Swamp Deer and 'Dudhraj' (Paradise Flycatcher) as the state animal and bird, the Madhya Pradesh government has granted the endangered breed 'Mahasheer' the status of state fish in a bid to arrest the decline in its production.
The decision in this regard was taken by the state Agriculture Cabinet at its meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan recently.
"After noticing a decline in its production in Narmada and Tawa river, we decided to conserve it and declare it as the state fish," Principal Secretary, Fisheries Department, Ajeeta Vajpayee Pandey told PTI here today.
'Mahasheer', whose genus and species is Tor, is locally also known as Mahaseer Baudas and is found in rivers originating from the Himalayas and also in Narmada, Ken, Betwa, Tapti and Chambal among others.
"In the last few years, a steep decline in its production was noticed with Narmada recording just 10-15 per cent, followed by Tawa (0.58 per cent in 2005-06 from 1.38 per cent in 1996-97)," she said.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed 'Mahasheer' as endangered in 2009, and on the recommendation of Lucknow-based National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), the state government decided to declare it as the State Fish for its conservation and also enhancing its production, Ajeeta said.
'Mahasheer' variety is popular among fish eaters and is also known as a sports fish. It is normally found in rivers with sweet water and is priced at Rs 100-150 per kilogram.
It is also found in the Gandhi Sagar and Ban Sagar water reservoirs. In the last few years its production saw a steep decline, forcing the department to take measures for its conservation, she said.
As part of the conservation process, the department has drawn an elaborate plan including collection of its seeds and their conservation by developing hatcheries.
The production of 'Mahasheer' fish seeds has already commenced in the Kervan reservoir near Bhopal, Ajeeta said.
This particular breed of fish and also other varieties generate employment for over 1.40 lakh persons in the state.
The Agriculture Cabinet has also approved a budget of Rs 15 crore for developing fish marketing infrastructure in the state so that proper markets on the lines of malls as well as developed haats and permanent places will be created for the fishing community of the state.
Fish festivals will also be organised in the state and Central government agencies will be invited so that they can keep the fishing community abreast with the latest technology in the field besides providing them the benefits of research.