National Fish Farmers’ Day celebrated in Meghalaya

Shillong July 10: The Department of Fisheries celebrated the National Fish Farmer’s Day at the Directorate of Fisheries, Shillong on Wednesday.

Chairman Meghalaya State Farmers Empowerment Commission, K. N. Kumar, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest while Commissioner and Secretary, Sampath Kumar, was the Guest of honour in the presence of officers of the Department of Fisheries, and fish farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, K.N Kumar informed that there are 22,000 fish farmers supported under the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission. Over the past 5 years Meghalaya has tripled its production of fresh water fish from 4,800 Metric Tonnes in 2012 to 13,000 Metric Tonnes in 2019. Inspite of the success, there is still a shortfall in production as the demand for fish in the State is about 27,000 Metric Tonnes annually. In order to plug this shortfall, the Government has launched the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) 2.0 in 2019. Based on the experience of the State with the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission 1.0, launched in 2012, the MSAM 2.0 aims to bridge the gaps of MSAM 1.0 and effectively help fish farmers achieve self sufficiency in fish production in the next five years.

K. N. Kumar also informed that investments are also being made to develop critical infrastructure like hatcheries to foster the breeding of fingerlings. With the aim of protecting genetic diversity of the fishes, under Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission 2.0, in addition to the existing 50 functional sanctuaries, 50 more fish sanctuaries are expected to be constructed across the state in the next five years, he informed.

Sampath Kumar, in his brief address, stated that Meghalaya has a huge potential for aquaculture, especially in the fishery sector and although the State has seen significant increase in the production of fish in the past five years of the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission, more needs to be done to achieve self sufficiency in fish production.

He also informed the gathering about the Government of India’s Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), a time-bound, mission-mode water conservation campaign being carried out in different districts of the State with the aim at making water conservation a movement through asset creation and communication campaign. He hoped that the campaign will not only create awareness on water harvesting but also encourage fish farmers to step up their aquaculture activities.

On the occasion, a Coffee Table Book entitled Rivers of Life – A Portrait of Fish Sanctuaries in Meghalaya was released and a Retail Fish Outlet in the premises was also inaugurated. Prizes were distributed to winners of the Marathon organised in the morning as part of the occasion.