One Fish, Two Fish: An Initial Assessment of Fish Species Diversity in Bhutan

Karma Wangchuk, Marlis R. Douglas, Julie Claussen, David P. Philipp, Michael E. Douglas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Bhutan is a carbon-neutral country north of India on the southern slope of the eastern Himalayas, with dimensions and topography similar to Switzerland. It is a well-studied, well-protected biodiversity hotspot, with 23 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and 8 ecoregions, to include 2 Ramsar Sites. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan (Article 5:3) states “… a minimum of 60% of Bhutan’s total land shall be maintained under forest cover for all time.“ Bhutan is a developing country with on-going water development projects that range from irrigation, through aquaculture, to hydropower development. However, its aquatic resources still remain enigmatic, and surprisingly, it lacks an endemic fish database as a necessary blueprint against which sustainable development can be gauged. The Kingdom has charged its National Research Centre for Riverine & Lake Fisheries with the task of developing such a benchmark, and in this regard, western Bhutan has already assayed (N=104 species), with central and eastern regions currently on-going. Here we present preliminary data in this regard, as well as an assessment of the challenges, strategies, and successes encountered to date. This project represents an on-going endeavour for Bhutan, and represents one aspect of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication148th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, 17-23 August 2018, Atlantic City, New Jersey
StatePublished - 2018


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