The Sikkim government has declared endangered ‘Copper Mahseer’ popularly known as ‘Katley’ as the State fish.

The Fishery department official said the State government has declared Neolissochilus hexagonolepis commonly known as Copper Mahseer and locally named as ‘Katley’ as a State fish to highlight the importance of the fish and to give emphasis to its conservation measures.

In India, Katley are mostly found in the Himalayas, especially in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Nagaland. In Sikkim, Katley are found in varied altitudes covering the entire state, predominantly confined in Teesta and Rangit rivers and their tributaries.

There are as many as 48 indigenous species of Mahseer in Sikkim, an official said.

“In Sikkim, Katley is found in varied altitudes covering entire state predominantly confined in Teesta and Rangit rivers and their tributaries. In the year 1992, ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBFGR), Lucknow had categorized Katley fish as endangered species. Later on, in the year 2014 the fish was also categorized as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature),” said Additional Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, C. S. Rai.

The fish has high market value and is highly preferred by the public in the State.

He said the Sikkim government has also declared the reservoirs of the State to be open for fishing activities.

The 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, he said.

The reservoirs are in Chungthang in North Sikkim, Legshep in West Sikkim along with Dikchu and Rorathang in East Sikkim.

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