Govt to develop ‘fish sanctuaries’ in State

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The State Government is planning to explore a new domain of tourism with the development of fish sanctuaries across the State.

“We are planning to construct 100 fish sanctuaries in the next two years with an aim to promote tourism through them,” Principal Secretary of Fisheries department KN Kumar said while addressing a one-day conclave on Aquaculture Development in the Northeastern region here on Tuesday.

According to Kumar, the Government would tie up with the fish farmers across the State in developing the proposed fish sanctuaries.

“We have received positive response from several stakeholders on this new initiative,” he said.

The Fisheries department Principal Secretary admitted that the department had not received the required fund until last year when the government stepped in to put things in place.

“The department, which has an annual budget of Rs 3 crore, has received a jump of 400 times in fund allocation. A total amount of Rs 1200 crore has been earmarked for the department during the 12th Five-year Plan period,” Kumar said adding that the Government is targeting to increase the fish production from the existing 500 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes annually in the next five years.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary WMS Pariat said better performance of the Fisheries department in such a short period is encouraging.

“At present, crores of rupees are going out of the State since we have to import a huge quantity of fish from outside. With the latest developments, things can definitely change,” he said. He also stressed on the need to increase the manpower to sustain the aim of the government to make Meghalaya a fish surplus state.

Earlier, Director of Odisha-based Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) Dr P Jayasankar informed that the Centre has set the goal to double fish production in the North-East and targeting to achieve a per capita availability of 15 kg of fish by 2020.

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