Nepal is a land of diverse topography, climate, ethnicity, and biodiversity. Within an average breadth of about 150 km, the altitude varies from 60 meters above sea level to the world's highest peak Mount Sagarmatha scaling 8848 km it has three large river basins namely Koshi in the east, Narayani in the central and Karnali in the west.

The aquatic biodiversity of Nepal is quite diverse, comprising around 186 indigenous and 11 exogenous fish species inhabiting various aquatic ecosystems such as freshwater rivers, streams, high altitude lakes, and ponds etc. The 186 native fish species are distributed along the aquatic ecosystems of Nepal from lowlands of plain Terai to Mid-hilly terrains and the Himalayas with approximately 59 species categorized as cold water fish.

There is little knowledge about native fish species distribution and ecology, which is essential for ecological management and conservation biology of species. This requires the knowledge about species at the population level that can sometimes be at low densities, which usually is based on visual detection and counting. However, unlike their terrestrial counterparts, relatively little is known about native fish and other aquatic life in Nepal.

Karnali river, which is the proposed site of the project, is among the 3 major river systems of Nepal. It is a perennial trans-boundary river originating on the Tibetan Plateau near Lake Mansarovar, with the extent of 507 km as being the longest river in Nepal, eventually joining the Ganges as one of its major tributaries. Due to the varying geographical features, large drainage area and volume of water, Karnali River is expected to provide diversified habitat for native and migratory fishes. There have been studies on aquatic biodiversity of Karnali river on the morphological basis in the past, however molecular and genetic level study has not been performed until today. This research focusing on fish genetics and DNA metabarcoding approach will help us to understand various strata of fish evolutionary history, biology, and genetics in landscape level, thus aiding us to address issues of conservation biology or genetics of native fish biodiversity for the first time in Nepal.

Fishes when this word is mentioned most people immediately relate to 'taste' rather than their existence in the wild. For time immemorial, they have been a great source of protein to human beings. While richer communities have moved up to commercial fish farming and devouring what comes out of these farms, poorer were still dependent on this resource and gained some access until very recent times. Fish stock has declined in the region and worldwide? affecting the poorer sector of the communities who depended on them. Fish farming is providing an alternative to wild caught fish. Same time some commercial farming have used wetland resources indiscriminately for fish farming ultimately threatening the entire wetland ecosystems. It is here where NRCN starts to take deeper interest and again probes into the problems in search of solutions applicable to the field.