A local fisheries regulation (Qanun Laut Tawar 1999 No.5 Panda Aceh Tengah) prohibits the use of gill nets with mesh sizes smaller than 1.5 cm and fishing closer than 100 m to the lakeshore, but this is not enforced. No other conservation actions are currently in place.
It is recommended to create and implement a harvest management plan and a recovery plan for this species. Awareness raising within the local community is recommended. This is both with fishers to prevent overharvesting and farmers to lower the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Further studies and monitoring are required to gain more insights on the population size and trend, to identify the proper conservation action, and to assess the harvest level trend.
The species is endemic to Lake Laut Tawar in Gayo highland, Aceh Province, north-western Sumatera, Indonesia (04°36'N 096°55'E). The lake is an old volcanic caldera with a maximum depth of 80 m, located approximately 1,200 m above sea level (Weber and de Beaufort 1916, Nontji 1991, Kartamihardja et al. 1995). Sampling in Aceh province by Muchlisin and Siti Azizah (2009) did not reveal the species anywhere else. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated at approximately 63 km2 (based on total area within a minimum convex polygon around sites where the species has been recorded and where some potential suitable localities may be located).
The species only occurs in a single lake (Lake Laut Tawar). It is relatively common and somewhat abundant in Lake Laut Tawar (Muchlisin et al. 2010). Nevertheless, the number of individuals is decreasing according to local fishermen. The population size is uncertain, but suspected to be somewhat large i.e. more than 10,000 individuals.
The endemicity of this fish to a single lake, and thus its restricted range, makes the taxon intrinsically vulnerable. It is exploited by targeted, unregulated gill net fisheries. The habitat quality is affected by pollution from pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture, sedimentation caused by deforestation of the watershed, and eutrophication from freshwater aquaculture and domestic waste water. Additionally, invasive species known to modify lake habitats are abundant throughout the lake, especially Oreochromis niloticus and Cyprinus carpio. Clarias gariepinus, an invasive predatory fish, is cultured in ponds around the lake (Z.A. Muchlisin pers. obs. 2009). A decrease in water level has been reported and might be aggravated by the planned construction of a drinking water plant in Takengon, the city located on the lakeshore.