The First International Mahseer Conference kicks off in Bhutan

Posted on
03 December 2018

Paro, 3 December 2018 – With Mahseer species under increasing pressure across southern Asia, the first International Mahseer Conference will bring together regional and global experts to discuss the growing threats to these extraordinary fish as well as the most effective strategies to ensure their survival.
The conference will run from December 3-8 and involve renowned experts inthe biology and behaviour of Mahseerspecies as well as leaders in the fields of freshwater fish conservation, fisheries management, valuing and conserving rivers, environmental protection and sustainable development.
Hosted by WWF Bhutan, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) and Fisheries Conservation Foundation (FCF), the conference in Paro will shine a spotlight on Bhutan as a leader in science-based management of its rivers, protection of its aquatic biodiversity, and focusing on Mahseer as iconic species to enhance the overall conservation of freshwater biodiversity.
The participants will share the latest research findings, management concernsand potential solutionsto the threats facing Mahseer species, which have undergone population declines in many areas due to habitat loss and over-exploitation. Several Mahseer species are already classified as ‘Endangered’ or ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, while many more are ‘Data Deficient’ – underlining how important it is to conduct additional research.
There is still much to learn about Mahseer, including their migration patterns, reproductive behaviour, key habitats and the impact of human activities. Better data will enable countries to implement better conservation measures – particularly how to maintain healthy rivers – to ensure these species thrive.
The conference will be organized into the four key themes: Mahseer biology, threats and mitigation, conservation, and management and recreational fishing. A post-conference report will detail four sets of recommendations: future research agendas; strategies for the conservation and management of Mahseer; capacity building in Bhutan; and collaborative partnerships.
The conference comes at an important and timely moment, just weeks after WWF’s Living Planet Report highlighted the catastrophic decline in freshwater species populations, which have fallen by 83 per cent since 1970. And immediately after the conclusion of the 14thConference of the Parties (COP14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Egypt, where there was a call for a ‘New Deal for Nature’ to address the loss of biodiversity.
Note to editors:
Find out more about the International Mahseer Conference on the IMC website
The full programme is included below
Keynote speakers include: 
  • Dr. Leeanne E. Alonso
    Biodiversity Specialist, International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group
  • Arjan Berkhuysen
Managing Director, World Fish Migration Foundation, Groningen, Netherlands
  • Dr. Steven Cooke 
Professor of Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology and Canada Research Chair, Institute of Environmental Science and Department of Biology, Carleton University (Canada)
  • Stuart Orr
Leader of WWF Freshwater Team, World Wildlife International, Switzerland
  • Adrian C. Pinder
Bournemouth University (UK) and Director of Research at Mahseer Trust
  • Dr. Rajeev Raghavan
Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kochi, India) & IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group

Detailed information about the speakers can be found here.

For further information and interview requests, please contact:
Tenzin Rabgye | Senior Communications Officer | WWF Bhutan
About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries and territories. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.