By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: With the annual demand of fish in the State reaching around 33000 metric tonnes, the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) is expected to produce around 20000 mt of fish thereby reducing the demand and supply gap.
The Mission has been divided into mini missions and under the mini mission 1, the Government plans to construct 5618 fish ponds.
Sources said that so far around 4300 fish ponds have been sanctioned even as the Government under the mission plans to construct 1 lakh fish ponds in the five years of the project.
“With the mission, water area will be extended to 10000 hectares,” sources said.
The MSAM has been designed with the objective of the Development of existing water bodies and creation of additional water area for large scale fish production, including reclamation/rehabilitation of marshy and swampy lands.
Reacting to a query about the response from the people, sources said that the response has been overwhelming with the Government receiving around 40000 applications for the project.
Under the project, the Government will also construct hatcheries and sanctuaries for preserving fishlings as presently, Meghalaya has to buy fishlings from outside and the mortality rate is very high.
“Mortality rate is upto 40 percent,” sources added.
Under the MSAM, special focus would also be given on the preservation of local and indigenous fishes and the Government will also construct additional sanctuaries for the purpose.
The Capacity building is another important factor of the project as it refers to the strengthening of the skills, competencies and abilities of the stakeholders so they can perform their tasks effectively.
Earlier, around 800 stakeholders of the project were provided with training for capacity building by the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Guwahati .
The Aquaculture Mission will have functional convergence with programmes like MGNREGS, RKVY, NRLM, etc and thematic convergence with line departments like Water Resources, Soil and water conservation and Tourism.
The Mission proposes to develop a Management Information System vested with the responsibility to collect, store and retrieve relevant and timely information for planning, executing, monitoring and evaluating the Mission.
Monitoring and evaluation will be an integral part of the project design, as they provide an opportunity for intervention during implementation and mid-course corrections.