Flyfishing for conservation?/!

Upon the invitation of the Iranian Department of Environment and the Environmental Sciences Research Institute Tjong Khoe and René Beaumont visited Iran the second week of October. This visit was a next step in a joint effort to conserve the indigenous trout in the upper Lake Lar basin. In Tehran the ideas for setting up an adequate protection regime were discussed with CTCF’s Iranian partners, with provincial and national authorities, and with potential stakeholders involved, at several occasions. These meetings proved that, in Iran, there is a wide support for the conservancy of their aquatic ecosystems. In this respect the Lake Lar basin trout have been promoted as a mascot for a healthy and attractive ecosystem in the Alborz Mountains. These trout will be put to work to raise awareness of the values of Iran’s patrimony, its economic relevance, and its touristic potential with the public at large, in and out of Iran.

The official meetings were followed by a three day field visit to Lar National Park, together with Dr. Asghar Abdoli from Shahid Beheshti University, several representatives of the D.O.E., and the Lar National Park rangers present. Together they analyzed the lake, its tributary rivers, and the Haraz River below the Lake Lar dam, and discussed the potential of the catchment as a whole for allowing non-aggravating recreational fishing. The initiative may lead to creating a completely new fishery: fly only/catch & release, monitored by scientific and research institutes, sustainably managed and controlled by governmental bodies, and supported by the local community. Income from the sales of fishing permits is to generate funds for continued scientific monitoring and research, and the implementation of further management and conservation measures. In other words: by allowing flyfishermen to “benefit” from the trout’s presence, they contribute to their protection/conservation at the same time, as well as to enhancing the ecosystem as such.

This project is supposed to not only have an impact on the region as for its appeal to flyfishermen. Also it aims to catalyze and stimulate other forms of eco-tourism. The immense Alborz Mountains’ outdoors may attract a whole range of recreational users (e.g. climbing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, bird-watching, wildlife spotting,…), positioning the Lake Lar basin to be experienced as an unexpected and ‘exotic’ destination, with –for flyfishermen- great trout fishing opportunities at democratic rates.

For the realization of this project CTCF is looking for financial support. For more details and requirements please contact René Beaumont.