National Research Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries (NRCRLF) in Haa found 104 fish species in the Amochhu, Wangchhu and Punatshangchhu basins.

Programme Director of NRCRLF, Singye Tshering, said that there had been no data and information on the species of fishes in the past. “After development activities such as hydropower projects and sandmines started coming up, there was no way to assess impacts on aquatic life.”

He said that in absence of data, there was no sound and healthy aquatic management plan.

“A hatchery had been established near Puntsangchhu instead of fish ladders as fishes found in the area were not fond of jumping and crossing ladders,” Singye Tshering said.

He said that the study, besides helping assess impacts on riverine and aquatic life, would also help develop mitigation measures to conserve fishes. “A study would be conducted in eastern part of the country.”

Singye Tshering said that community-based fisheries were allowed as a way to sustain resources. “As people had been depending on fishes for livelihood in areas such as Harachhu, the community was allowed to have fisheries.”

He said that even if this were restricted, people would resort to activities that involve water diversion, poisoning the water, and setting of traps, which would be destructive to the ecosystem.

It was learnt that about seven community fisheries had been started for sustainable use of resources.

“Community based fisheries would ensure sustainability, as the community is given responsibility,” Singye Tshering said.

The inventory found that of 104 species, about 57 new species records were found and Punatsangchhu basin had the most diverse species with 89 fish species.

The research was started in mid-last year and would be complete by 2019.

Rinchen Zangmo | Haa