ABOUT MAHSEER TRUST
About the Mahseer Trust
Throughout the world, among sport anglers and wildlife enthusiasts, there is an enormous amount of admiration and respect for the “noble” Mahseer and it is our hope that many of these will wish to support the aims of the Trust. Although the Trust is based in the UK, we aim to work in partnership with conservation organisations in India, with Indian scientists and universities and, indeed, to engage worldwide, with individuals and organisations with an interest in Mahseer biology and conservation. By so doing, it is our hope and ambition that these great fishes will thrive and allow future generations to continue to appreciate their magnificence.
The Mahseer Trust has the following aims:
- To advance scientific knowledge of mahseer taxonomy, biology and ecology;
- To provide an interactive online resource for scientists, conservationists and anglers;
- To seek funding to support international research and conservation programmes relating to mahseer;
- To promote awareness of the conservation, and socio-economic benefits of sport angling;
- To engage with all stakeholders and provide regular reporting of the activities of the Trust.
The Mahseer Trust is run by a team of dedicated and passionate volunteers. A summary of core team members is provided below.
Ian Pett (Trustee – Chair)
Ian first travelled in Pakistan, India and Nepal on leaving school, thus forging a lifelong attachment to the lands where mahseer swim. He spent his career working on the design, financing and management of national health systems, and recently retired from a post at the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Switzerland.
An angler since childhhod, the chance purchase of of HS Thomas’s The Rod in India sparked his curiosity about mahseer, and a posting to India in 1990 brought it off the shelf to be his hand-book for the next 7 years. He was lucky enough to meet and fish with some of the great mahseer anglers and pioneer conservationists of the day, fish across much of north India and a little in Nepal, and observe protected mahseer at close quarters at monastery and temple sites in Bhutan and India. He collects mahseer literature and helped the Natraj Press in India to expand their list and introduce their publications to the wider world.
During his time in the USA, Ian was inspired by the organisations presenting their work at the conservation dinners hosted by New York Anglers Club, so was delighted to find and join the Mahseer Trust when he returned to Britain. When in mahseer country he tries to find any and everyone engaged in angling and conservation. With experience in both the management and governance of UK Registered Charities with international concerns, and an international career, Ian brings a useful mix of personal interest and professional expertise to his new role as Chair of the Mahseer Trust.
Adrian C. Pinder (Trustee – Director of Research)
Based at Bournemouth University (UK), Adrian is a freshwater fisheries scientist and passionate conservationist with 30 years’ experience of monitoring and managing fish populations. His first visit to South India’s River Cauvery in 2010 signified the onset of a personal obsession to address some of the many knowledge gaps and political challenges which currently constrain the development of effective conservation plans to protect mahseer.
Adrian was recruited as Director of the Mahseer Trust in 2012 and, since achieving charitable status and recruiting a new Board of Trustees in 2016, has served as Director of Research.
Shannon Bower (Trustee – Director of Recreational Angling)
Shannon Bower is a fisheries researcher and PhD candidate in the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario) and a passionate advocate for freshwater conservation. As a researcher, Shannon studies the growth of recreational fisheries in developing and emerging economies, an undervalued and understudied sector with enormous potential for both benefit and impact. In this research, she uses a social-ecological systems approach to understand the biological, social, and economic dynamics of catch-and-release fisheries using a variety of methods to provide fisheries stakeholders with the information they need to manage these target populations sustainably. The mahseer recreational fishery of India is the backbone of this research, and Shannon has fallen under the spell of these remarkable fish and the incredible Cauvery River.
Shannon believes there is a pressing need for study of recreational fishing that adopts transdisciplinary and participatory research approaches to address key issues in the sector. Issues such as conflicts situations, concerns regarding fishing rights and subsistence harvest needs, cultural norms related to catch and release practices, and data deficiencies surrounding species-specific responses to typical recreational fishing activities need to be addressed to support sustainable management of fish populations and benefit fishing communities.
Derek D’Souza (Trustee – India Regional Lead)
Derek started angling at the age of four, using a bamboo rod and line, catching small catfish in front of his grandparents home in Mangalore. His first encounter with Mahseer was in 2003, which immediately broke his rod.
His love for Mahseer grew tremendously; it was the sport that made him meet the Mighty Mahseer, and he says “it’s the love for the fish that has shaped me as what I am today”. Derek took a vow to protect the fish that he loved; he practices catch and release and spreads the message to every person he meets about mahseer, and to practice catch and release to every angler.
Once he fell in love with the mahseer, there was no turning back. He became involved with Mahseer Trust in 2014, and in 2016 he was appointed a Trustee of the charity as the India Regional Lead.
Derek also serves as the India Representative of the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) and is Vice President – Environment of the All India Game Fishing Association (AIGFA). He was recently inducted into Anglers Association of Nagaland as a Technical Advisor. He is also a sub Committee member of Wild Life Association of South India (WASI) and advises various Fisheries Departments of Mizoram, Assam, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
Andy Harrison (Trustee – Director of Marketing and Communications)
Andy is a fisheries scientist based at Bournemouth University (UK), with a keen interest in fish species of conservation importance. He has over 10 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors, working on all aspects of freshwater fish ecology and protection. Andy is particularly interested in the impacts of water management practices and in-river barriers on migratory fish species, including eel, salmon and lamprey.
In addition to his professional fisheries science background, Andy’s experience in website design, content management, marketing and social media saw him appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2016 as Director of Marketing and Communications.
Steve Lockett (Mahseer Trust Officer – Education and Outreach)
Since 2011, Steve has been involved in most of the projects and negotiations that have moved the Trust forward at incredible pace. Since 1997, he has worked as a photojournalist for magazines around the world, including regular articles in the UK’s weekly Angler’s Mail. Also working as a music teacher for the last 25 years, Steve is now keen to develop educational opportunities in mahseer range countries.
His experience of organising meetings, plus serving on the committees of various angling clubs, lead to him being appointed a Trustee and Vice Chair of the Trust as it transitioned into charitable status. Steve has since stepped down as a Trustee and taken on a new role as Mahseer Trust Officer for Education and Outreach.
Kelvin Ng (Mahseer Trust Officer – South-east Asia Lead)
Based in Singapore, Kelvin serves as our South-east Asia Lead. He is the IGFA representative for Singapore and has particular interest in fisheries research, conservation and the development of sustainable fisheries. An avid fly fisherman with over 20 years of experience, Kelvin discovered his passion for Mahseer on a trip to Khao Sok National Park in Thailand. He hopes to bring his passion, knowledge and experience to support the objectives of the Mahseer Trust.
Rajeev Raghavan (Mahseer Trust Officer – India Science Lead)
Dr. Rajeev is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Fisheries Resource Management, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), Kochi, India; the South Asia Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission – Freshwater Fish Specialist Group (FFSG); and the IUCN Freshwater Fish Red List Authority Coordinator (for the regions of Southern, Northern and Eastern Asia and Oceania). His work over the last 15 years has focused on the diversity, distribution and conservation of freshwater fishes of the South Asian region with a special focus on the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot.
Dr AJT Johnsingh
As a boy Johnsingh got fascinated by mahseer by reading the fishing stories by Jim Corbett. He nurtured this interest and while serving in Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, from 1985 to 2005, he made it a point to visit almost all the mahseer habitats in Uttarakhand and has come out with a valuable report and several popular articles.
Johnsingh met his first blue-finned mahseer in Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in the early 1980s and has carried out a survey of Cauvery mahseer habitat for Jungle Lodges and Resorts Pvt Ltd in 1999.
He drew the attention of mahseer conservationists to Shimsha as the only viable habitat for spawning in the stretch between Sivasamudram and Hohenekal falls. He has contributed to the training of hundreds of forest officers in India and is keen to make use of this relationship to secure a future for mahseer in India.
Jeremy John Wade is a British television presenter and author of books on angling. He is known for his television series River Monsters and Jungle Hooks.
Wade’s interest in fishing began when he was living in East Anglia, on the banks of Suffolk’s River Stour. In 1982, Wade made his first overseas trip to India’s mountain rivers. He has since made trips around the world in search of elusive fish species. He has taken many trips to the Congo and Amazon rain forests. With the aid of local fishermen, Wade travels the world to catch various fish. Wade is also a published author. With joint-author Paul Boote, in 1992 Wade published his first book, Somewhere Down the Crazy River. Wade has also written River Monsters, which details his hunts and journeys around the world.
In a scene from “River Monsters: The Lost Reels”, filmed in 2005, Jeremy Wade catches a mahseer on a river in India.
For Jeremy, the catch is an unforgettable angling experience.