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7 May 2018

Bid for angling tourism in hills....Teesta contest held

Anglers take part in the contest. (Passang Yolmo)
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT,  May 07, 2018 Darjeeling: The bait has been thrown into the Teesta to promote angling as a new tourism avenue in the Darjeeling hills.

The Himalayan Angling and Conservation Organisation, a guild of ardent anglers, along with the GTA, organised a two-day angling competition - a first of its kind initiative - not only to promote the sport but also to educate the people on the importance of "catch and release" of certain fishes.

"Angling has tremendous potential as the Teesta and the Rangeet are the few rivers in north Bengal where golden mahseer can be found," said Jigme Wanchuk Nadik, the general secretary of the association.

Experts say golden mahseer, which is also known as the aquatic tiger of Asian sub-continent, is a much sought after trophy fish as it is one of the toughest game fish and can weigh up to 40kg.

"Golden mahseer weighing 18k has been found in the Teesta but there is lack of awareness regarding its potential," said Nadik.

More than 50 anglers from Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sikkim and neighbouring region camped at Teesta for two days from Saturday for the completion. "The anglers catch fish, weigh, take photographs and release it. We are also interacting with the local people and spreading the word on the need to conserver fishes," said Nadik.

Fishes like large catfish (locally known as limbuni macha) and katla are also found in the Teesta.

For two days, anglers competed in categories: biggest catch, fastest catch, rare species catch and maximum number of catches. The contest started from 10am and stretched to 4pm.

"We have anglers who have camped and stayed on the banks of the river for more than a week. Such was the passion," said Nadak.

Sarthak Pradhan, the fisheries extension officer of the GTA, said: "There are 31 varieties of fishes in the GTA region and we have already started issuing fishing licence which comes for a fee of Rs 500 per annum. Around 100 anglers have obtained the licence."

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