Fisheries Minister AL Hek, on april 24, admitted that Meghalaya was still dependent on 80 per cent of fish coming from outside.
“We are depending on 80 per cent of fish from outside and only 20 percent of fish is from the state,” Hek told reporters.
Hek, however, refused to accept the fact the implementation of the State Aquaculture Mission was not successful as the state could not produce fish from these fish ponds, and instead, many of these fish ponds turned to be ponds for organising fishing competitions among the anglers.
“The mission is not a failure,” Hek said.
The State Aquaculture Mission was launched in 2012 to not only augment fish production in the state, but to achieve the target of making Meghalaya a self-sufficient state within five years.
But the ponds created under the State Aquaculture Mission did not produce fish as per the objective.
Stating that he wanted to change the concept from fish sanctuary into tourism potential, Hek informed that the fisheries department has put proposals to develop at least 8 fish sanctuaries in some rivers of the state by also making these tourist spots.
“By beautifying these fish sanctuaries in the rivers, they will become beautiful tourist destinations which will boost tourism and generate revenue for the people. There will be rafting, boating and angling for tourists in these fish sanctuaries,” Hek said.
When asked how these fish sanctuaries can increase fish production, Hek said that fish will be multiplied in these sanctuaries.
He said that these fish sanctuaries would have a revenue model on a BOT (build, operate and transfer) system, where the government would build the sanctuaries, operate and then transfer them later to the community.
He also cited an instance of Wah Umlew in Umroi under Ri Bhoi district, stating that a fish sanctuary can be developed in this beautiful river, and at the same time, make this river an attractive tourist spot.