Publication date: Jun 01, 2023
COVID-19, a global health concern, has an effect on all aspects of the economy. The aquaculture and fishing industries were severely harmed as a result of the closures in multiple nations. Regular systems for inventory monitoring, production, and supply were disrupted. Cancellation of programmes for research, fieldwork, sampling, and tagging influences management-required data. For effective species management, fish dispersion assessments are indispensable. However, due to the difficulty of accessing sampling sites and the associated costs, there is frequently a lack of comprehensive information regarding the distribution and abundance of organisms. The COVID-19 prohibition made fish monitoring more problematic. Due to constant pressure, populations of the stone lapping minnow (Garra cambodgiensis), one of Thailand’s overfished fish, are rapidly declining. Therefore, eDNA-based monitoring was devised and implemented to reveal the likely dispersal of the species in Thailand prior to and following the lockdown. At 28 locations within the Chao Phraya River Basin, water samples were collected. qPCR was used to determine the presence or absence of G. cambodgiensis in water samples. In 78 of 252 water samples, a wide range of computed copy numbers for G. cambodgiensis eDNA was observed. It was discovered that samples collected in 2021 (after the lockdown) contain a higher concentration of G. cambodgiensis eDNA than samples collected in 2018 or 2019 (prior to the lockdown). The closure appears to be a boon and may result in a substantial restocking of the fish we have studied. Overall, eDNA-based analysis is an extremely promising new survey instrument.