Aquaculture in Meghalaya: The next door solution towards the Global Seafood Crisis
TURA, March 3: Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma has said that schemes under Fisheries sector would be made demand-driven so that there would be no room for spoon feeding and announced a Special Expansion Scheme to all committed farmers to expand their existing fish farms and hatcheries.
The Chief Minister was addressing the gathering as the chief guest at the 2nd Aqua Fest, 2017 organized for the Garo Hills region by the Fisheries department in collaboration with the District Administration, West Garo Hills at Police Parade Ground, Tura, on Monday.
Expressing his deep appreciation to all the fish farmers of the state who have taken up schemes sanctioned under Aquaculture Mission since 2012 with utmost dedication for ensuring food and nutritional security to the people, the Chief Minister however told the farmers not to look at pisciculture only for consumption and highlighted the manifold objectives of and opportunities of livelihood under the Mission. Stating that Aquaculture can generate a lot of scope to promote rural and eco-tourism, the Chief Minister called upon the department to have a special programme this year for ornamental fish and grant schemes only to motivated partners, saying a lot of positive activities can be linked with Aquaculture Mission. He cited an example saying "in modern day world we are exposed to a lot of mental and physical stress, so at times we need to disconnect ourselves from our daily activity and anything linked to farming activity is the best way to disconnect".
Reiterating on the importance of scientific use of natural resources, the Chief Minister also urged upon the department to encourage the existing fish farmers to adopt scientific approach to improve their production and also look at quality of water of all fish ponds to ensure that fishes are healthy, which would open up employment opportunity as a large number of foot soldiers would have to be employed for the purpose. He also informed that oxygenated van was being developed by the department so that live fish can be ferried directly from the farmers to the consumers.
Highlighting on the difference between food security and nutritional security, the Chief Minister also spoke of the need to create awareness among the people on how daily consumption of fish can have positive impact on one's health.
Director of Fisheries, Ram Singh while delivering the keynote address, informed that the Aqua Fest 2017 was being held in two phases – one week in Garo Hills and one week Khasi Hills to lay thrust in the fishery sector not only for expansion but also market linkage with focus on allied sectors and to connect the unemployed youth to Aquaculture Mission under IBDLP.
Earlier, West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner, Pravin Bakshi in his welcome address said that the Aqua Fest would be a game changer for aqua-culturists and pisciculturists of Garo Hills, saying their production have a promise of organic fish as most of the streams and rivers of the region are residue free.
As part of the week-long Aqua Fest, activities and competitions like angling, essay writing for school students and workshop on scientific fish culture and marketing strategies were organized and the best fish farmers and best fish sanctuaries were identified and awarded during the function.