Retail fish outlet opened by Fisheries Department in Shillong

SHILLONG: Giving the much needed market to the local fish farmers, a retail fish outlet of the Department of Fisheries was set up in the premises of the department at Cleve Colony which was inaugurated by Chairman of Farmers Commission, KN Kumar on Wednesday.

The outlet was unveiled on the occasion of National Fish Farmer’s Day held at the Directorate of Fisheries. The fish retail outlet will allow fish farmers from different blocks in East Khasi Hills to sell the local fishes.

“In our state, there are 22,000 fish farmers supported under the Meghalaya Aqua Culture Mission,” Kumar said adding that there are other farmers who have voluntarily taken up fish farming.

He informed that the state as of March 31, 2019, it has produced 13,000 Metric tonnes of freshwater fish. As in 2012-13, the year in which the Aqua Culture Mission started, Kumar said the state produced only 4800 MT of fish. He attributed the increase in production to the hardwork of the farmers.

However, he maintained that the local fish production increased following the implementation of Meghalaya Aqua Culture Mission which started in the year 2012.

Kumar said, “The state is still not self-sufficient in terms of fish production. As per estimates, we require 27,000 MT of fish in our state every year. With the state producing 13000 MT, there is a shortfall of about 14000 MT that has to be achieved over the next 5-6 years time.”

To enable the farmers to achieve the target, the state launched the Meghalaya Aqua Culture Mission 2.0 which he said was a far more efficiently designed document.

Speaking on the importance of sanctuaries which aim to protect the genetic diversity of the fishes, Kumar said under the 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.

He said the MSAM 2.0 aimed to bridge the gaps of MSAM 1.0 and effectively help fish farmers achieve self-sufficiency in fish production in the next five years. 

Kumar also informed that investments were also being made to develop critical infrastructure such as hatcheries to foster the breeding of fingerlings.

On the occasion, Kumar and other officials of the department released a Coffee Table Book entitled Rivers of Life – A Portrait of Fish Sanctuaries in Meghalaya. Prizes were also distributed to the winners of the marathon competition held earlier in the morning. 

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