SHILLONG, July 2 – With growing population and increasing demand for fish, Meghalaya would develop its Fishery sector on a mission mode, the State Government has announced.Annually, the demand for fish in Meghalaya is increasing at the rate of about six per cent with a population rise of 2.5 per cent. However, the State has been able to produce just 6,000 metric tonne of fish out of the total demand of 16,000 metric tonnes.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said the government would develop the Fishery sector on a mission mode. “The State Government would adopt the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) to develop this vital sector,” he said releasing the mission document.
The Chief Minister said MSAM would not only try to bridge the growing demand-supply gap, but also try to address the issues of “poverty, unemployment and under-employment” in the State.
The additional requirement of 10,000 metric tonnes of fish in the State is imported from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
Under MSAM, it has been estimated that 30 per cent of the land in Meghalaya could be brought under fisheries.
The State Government during 2005-06 introduced the “1000 ponds scheme” to provide employment opportunities for educated unemployed youths.
Under the scheme, the government provides 70 per cent subsidy for construction of a pond. Rs 3.6 lakh has been fixed as the total project cost for a one hectare pond.
However, some of the norms for implementation of the scheme would have to be changed for better result. Under MSAM, Below Poverty Line families would be targeted, apart from educated unemployed youths, to avail the 1000 ponds scheme.
Other norms such as size of the pond would be relaxed from the present 2,000 square metre to 1,000 square metre for people willing to avail the benefits of the scheme, the mission document said.
The Mission would also lay emphasis on technology induction, promotion of feed mills, setting up of seed hatcheries, privatising the departmental fish farms, diversifying the sector (prawn, ornamental fish culture, etc) adopting a cluster approach and training of fish farmers.