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Wareham, United Kingdom

Gupta N.,Kings College London | Bower S.D.,Carleton University | Raghavan R.,Conservation Research Group | Raghavan R.,Outreach | And 3 more authors.
Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture

Recreational fishing is an established activity in developed countries across the world. Many emerging economies have well-established recreational fisheries; however, in countries such as India there has been little discourse on what is needed to support this activity's sustainable development. Here, we review the history of recreational fishing and the current status of recreational fisheries in India. The lack of scientific knowledge on the basic biology of sport fish species, targeting of threatened species, and the absence of region- or species-specific angling regulations for recreational fisheries are identified as some of the challenges associated with this sector in India. Moreover, governance structures are disorganized, with multiple agencies assuming some responsibility for recreational fishing but none tasked explicitly with its sustainable development and management. With improved legislative support and a clear policy framework, developing a responsible and sustainable recreational fisheries industry in India is possible. Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Source

Pinder A.C.,East Stoke River Laboratory | Pinder A.C.,Bournemouth University | Raghavan R.,East Stoke River Laboratory | Raghavan R.,Conservation Research Group CRG | And 2 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Mahseer (Tor spp.) are flagship fishes in South Asian rivers. Their populations are threatened through poaching and habitat disturbance, yet they are highly prized game fishes due to their large size, appearance and sporting qualities. The international recreational angling community has frequently been cited as playing a vital role in conserving these fishes while also providing economic benefit to poor rural communities. Owing to a lack of scientific data and the considerable challenges associated with monitoring fish populations in large monsoonal rivers, efforts to determine the long-term trends in their populations has focused on sport-fishing catch records. Here, catch data collected between 1998 and 2012 from Galibore, a former fishing camp on the River Cauvery, Karnataka, India, were analysed to determine the catch per unit effort (CPUE - by number and weight) as an indicator of relative fish abundance, along with the size structure of catches. This fishery operated a mandatory catch-and-release (C&R) policy, and provided the fish community with protection from illegal fishing. Between 1998 and 2012, 23 620hours fishing effort were applied to catch and release 6161 mahseer, ranging in size from 1 to 104 lbs (0.45-46.8kg) in weight. Across the period, CPUE in number increased significantly over time with a concomitant decrease in CPUE by weight, revealing strong recruitment in the population and a shift in population size structure. This suggests a strong response to the C&R policy and the reduction in illegal fishing, indicating that conservation strategies focusing on the beneficial and negative aspects of exploitation can be successful in achieving positive outcomes. These outputs from angler catch data provide insights into the mahseer population that were impossible to collect by any alternative method. They provide the most comprehensive analysis of a long-term dataset specific to any of the mahseer species across their entire geographical range and demonstrate the value of organised angling as a conservation monitoring tool to enhance biological data, and inform conservation and fishery management actions. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Pinder A.C.,East Stoke River Laboratory | Pinder A.C.,Bournemouth University | Raghavan R.,East Stoke River Laboratory | Raghavan R.,Conservation Research Group CRG | And 2 more authors.
Endangered Species Research

The Western Ghats region of India is an area of exceptional freshwater biodiversity and endemism. Mahseer of the genus Tor are considered prized sport fishes of great cultural significance; nevertheless, they are threatened as a result of increasing anthropogenic stressors. In the River Cauvery, the mahseer community comprises a 'blue-finned' and an orange-finned, 'hump-backed' fish. Whilst it is not yet known whether these are distinct species or 2 different phenotypes, evidence suggests that the hump-backed phenotype is endemic to the river, whereas the blue-finned phenotype was introduced in the 1980s. Angler-catch data from a managed fishery on the River Cauvery, gathered between 1998 and 2012 and comprising 23 620 h of fishing effort, revealed that captured individuals ranged in size from 0.45 to 46.8 kg, with the blue-finned phenotype comprising 95% of all captured fish and the remainder being hump-backed. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) of the blue-finned phenotype significantly increased over the study period, while the mean weight of individual fish significantly declined. By contrast, the CPUE of the hump-backed phenotype declined significantly over the period, with individual mean weights significantly increasing. These data suggest a recent recruitment collapse in the hump-backed phenotype resulting in an ageing population that may be headed towards extinction. The introduced blue-finned phenotype, however, continues to recruit strongly, suggesting that the mahseer community of the River Cauvery has undergone considerable shifts in the last 30 yr. © The authors 2015. Source

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