Now folks, tell me, what is there not to love about the following image? It is truly unparalleled and groundbreaking - a stuff for the history books:
The happy convergence of GOOD and EVIL - Buddhist monks happily performing the inaugural ceremony of the official launch of high-end recreational fishing in Tsirang - proof that the men of God now sanctifies fishing as an act condoned by Buddhism.
The launching of the high-end recreational fishing in Tsirang and Dagana Dzongkhags (Districts) was conducted with traditional fanfare and pomp - replete with red-robbed monks murmuring holy chants for success and good luck. The Tsirang Divisional Forest Office’s Facebook page announced the event in following words (Do not miss out on the wrongly spelt name of the fish):
“With the amendment of Forest & Nature Conservation Rule 2021, the Department of Forests and Park Services has opened High-end Recreational Fishing in the country. For more sustainable and recreational fishing purpose, the rivers of Bhutan are categorized into Trout water and Masheer water. The High-end recreational fishing site for Golden Mahseer zone II, Sunkosh Stretch - Punatsangchu was launched on 13th March 2023. Tsirang Forest Division in collaboration with Nature Conservation Division, Department of Tourism and Dagana Forest Division initiated the launching program. During the launching, 4 International Angler in collaboration with Bhutanese anglers started the High-end recreational fishing from Sunkosh river stretch. The High-end recreational fishing is exclusively for catch and release purpose only.”
Bhutan’s brand new high-end tourism product is intended to draw in the global game-fishing community, by the hoards. Sadly, that will have to remain a pipe dream - unless the Bhutanese bureaucrats learn to shed their decades old mentality of framing rules to restrict - rather than to facilitate. The Forest and Nature Conservation (Amendment) Rules and Regulations of Bhutan, 2021 recently released by the DoFPS is one such example. It is clear that the government has, yet again, tapped into the wrong pool of minds.
One particular provision contained in the rules explicitly prohibits fishing for the star attraction - the prized Golden Mahseer - during a period and in areas where/when they are known to be most productive. Another provision reeks of self-interest and selfishness - it is clear that the rule has been influenced by some interest groups.
The mighty Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora) hooked and landed at Changchey, Tsirang on 29th October, 2020. For the world angling community elsewhere in the world, a Golden Mahseer this size is .... well, stuff of dreams.
It is hoped that the DoFPS will see through their folly and remedy the flaws in the rules, in order that the objectives of introducing game fishing in the country serves its intended purpose. I, on my part, will be attempting to contribute to the national cause, by sharing my experience of over forty years of fishing the Bhutanese waters for Golden Mahseer and Brown Trout, with the relevant agency in the government. So far there has been no indication that the government is receptive to sound counsel from home-grown talent pool - but citizens have to do our duty, and keep trying, nonetheless.
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