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small mahseer
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Author:  David Mcintyre [ Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:27 am ]
Post subject:  small mahseer

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Author:  Ken L [ Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:33 pm ]
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Hi David. There is something in what you say but mahseer are very different to pike - chub might be a better comparison.
They are omniverous rather that being pure predatiors and eat everything from fish to snails and algie scrapped from rocks. Judging from some of the 3" (and bigger) wide scrapes seen on the Cauvery, even big fish will scrape the rocks for a feed of algie and it's this willingness to eat plant material that leaves them open to the ragi ball approach.
One thing that always strikes me on the Cauvery is the way that the mahseer seem to fill almost all of the available ecological niches and simply move from one to another depending on their size. The other species just have to mussel in where they can.
Because of this, the presence of lots of small mahseer is much more likely to be indicative of a good breeding year that it is of the removal of larger fish.

Author:  David Mcintyre [ Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:45 pm ]
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Author:  Ken L [ Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:10 pm ]
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Quote:
larger Mahseer seem to be the most vulnerable


That they are. I fished the river earlier ion the year and was dismayed to see lots of lines on bamboo poles in several sections of the river upstream of the main fishing beat - where "strangely" there are almost no sizable fish.
On reporting this poaching to the controllers of the stretch, I was told "Yes, we allow this. But those lines will not catch a mahseer".
No, they probably don't catch a lot of mahseer, but I bet they kill a fair few.
Even if only one in 10 big mahseer that picks up a bait fails to shed the hook and subsequently dies, the population will very soon be devoid of big old breeding fish.

Worryingly, this process has been observed to affect fish stocks by providing an evolutionary push in favour of genes that lead to smaller maximum size, faster growth rates and early sexual maturity.
If it keeps up, in 40 or 50 years, the maximum size of a mahseer might drop significantly.

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