Sikkim Government Declares ‘Copper Mahseer’, Locally Called Katley, As State Fish

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Posted in Featured, Northeast, Sikkim


  • NET Web Desk

On Saturday, September 18, the Sikkim Government has declared Chocolate or Copper Mahseer, scientifically termed ‘Neolissochilus hexagonolepis’ and locally termed Katley as the State Fish of Sikkim.

According to a press release issued by Sikkim Directorate of Fisheries, Katley is found in varied altitudes covering entire state predominantly confined in Teesta and Rangit rivers and their tributaries.

In the year 1992, Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBFGR), Lucknow had categorized Katley fish as an endangered species.

However, in the year 2014, the fish was also categorized as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Directorate states that by declaring Katley as ‘State Fish’, the board intends to highlight the significance of fish in Sikkim.

It tries to put emphasis to the conservational measures as such fishes have high market value, which is highly preferred by the public.

Besides, the Government has also declared that state reservoirs should be opened for fishing activities.

“License shall be issued by the Directorate of Fisheries to the interested individual fishermen or fishermen co-operative societies or SHGs for fishing in the reservoirs in accordance with the existing provisions under the Sikkim Fisheries Rules, 1990.” – further stated the release.

Preference will be given to displaced person/project affected persons who are poor and interested in becoming active fishermen.

The release further adds that no fishing shall be allowed within 500 meters from the dam both upstream as well as downstream.

Fishing operations in the reservoirs shall be done in a manner as not to endanger of the reservoir in any way.

Management Regulations :

The Directorate of Fisheries shall ensure regular stocking of fingerlings of economically important indigenous fish species in various reservoirs of the state for increasing its productivity.

However, exotic fish species having economic value may also be introduced and stocked to the reservoirs by Directorate of Fisheries, the ones having similar habitat – feeding and space.

Appropriate locations nearby reservoirs will be identified for construction of landing centers. The fishes caught will be landed in these centers where a fishery officer deputed for the same will verify and record the catch, thereby allowing its further marketing by issuing necessary permits.

The Directorate of Fisheries shall levy 15% royalty fee on the catch in accordance of market value.

Collection of Revenue :

All types of revenue generated either by issue of fishing license, collection of royalty fee, or any type of compensation shall be deposited in Revenue Head.

Conservation Measures :

All conservation measures as per Sikkim Fisheries Act 1980 shall be strictly enforced by the Directorate in the reservoirs opened for fishing activities.

Insurance of Active Fisherman :

All the fishermen registered under the Directorate holding a Valid license for fishing shall apply for insurance cover under Group Accident Insurance Scheme (GAIS) of the Union government or any scheme of Sikkim Government.

Furthermore, the decision has been undertaken with an intent to provide livelihood opportunities to fishermen at the same time for nutritional security of Sikkim residents.

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