Currently, in Nepal, there is only one species of mahseer that is correctly documented and fairly well understood: Tor putitora, the golden mahseer. However, it is pretty certain that two more species are present in Nepal’s rushing rivers: Tor tor and Tor mosal, although neither species can, currently, be identified with any certainty, due to sketchy initial descriptions and decades of ignorance pedalled as scientific truths. Add to this mix that there may well be other species, as yet undescribed, and my opening remarks leave not only mahseer, but also many other less visible fish species facing uncertain futures.
Untangling the status of T. tor and T. mosal ⁶ has to be the first step in any river conservation plan that involves fish. If there is a young scientist in Nepal who is interested in and has some experience of handling fish, then I would love to hear from you. A plan is in place to carry out a project, and I can help to find the funding needed to enable a robust and long-term field study for the right person. Simply drop me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a short introduction note and I will help to put together a team to help establish, once and for all, some of the mystery of Nepal’s major river fish.
Once we know what it is, we can begin positive plans to protect it, and that will bring benefits for all those who depend upon Nepal’s beautiful rivers.