MEGHALAYA STATE AQUACULTURE MISSION
Meghalaya with its vast inland fishery resources offers tremendous scope for developing the fisheries sector, but lags behind in harnessing the potential of these natural resources. Though the state is predominantly a fish consuming State, the supply of fish is inadequate to meet its growing demand, making the State import fish from Andhra Pradesh. The Government of Meghalaya has identified fisheries as a key sector and has decided to launch the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) co-terminus with the Twelfth Five Year Plan period (2012-13 to 2016-17). The MSAM has the following major objectives:
- Development of existing water bodies and creation of additional water area for large scale fish production, including reclamation/rehabilitation of marshy and swampy lands,
- Conservation of native, endangered and traditional species of Meghalaya and developing breeding farms of commercially potential species on a large scale,
- Creation of mass awareness, capacity building, exposure training and skill development of all the stakeholders and technical support for long term sustainability of fishery sector,
- Capturing emerging opportunities in the fisheries sector.
Given the wide canvas, the Aquaculture Mission is divided into six Mini Missions for better focus and ease of implementation. Mini Mission I is related to “Area and Productivity Expansion”, which will be achieved through four sub components, viz., individual pond construction, community pond construction, development of marshy and swampy areas and bheels and reservoir fishery development. Mini Mission II is for “Critical infrastructure development”, which has five components: fish seed production, fish feed production, fish disease management, pre and post harvesting infrastructure and creation and strengthening of fishery and multi-purpose co-operatives. Fish seed production will be achieved through Government and private hatcheries and utilizing FRP technology as also inducting Israeli technology.
Establishing sanctuaries for conserving indigenous and endemic species of fish is the focus of Mini Mission III. Surveys for identifying the endangered species, orientation workshops and media campaigns will be organised under the Mission. The Mission will collaborate with the Department of Tourism for boosting the objectives and targets of the Mission related to Mahaseer and other native species conservation. Mini Mission IV is for “Capacity Building” of farmers as well as officials, programme managers, multi-service providers, co-operators, etc. Mass mobilization campaigns and skill trainings for unemployed youth will be organised under this mini mission. Mini Mission V is titled “Mass media campaigns, documentation and outreach”, which will take care of two important activities, viz., awareness building about the Mission and publicity among the public and process documentation of the implementation and preparation of success stories.
Mini Mission VI deals with “Emerging opportunities in the fisheries sector”, which is an exclusive visionary component envisaged for tapping the emerging opportunities and addressing them with scientific backstopping. Ornamental fisheries, trout farming, introduction of freshwater prawn culture and new table species of fish and aqua tourism/ aqua parks/ sport fisheries will be the components under this mini mission.
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, Tourism, etc. 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. The approach of the Mission to engage civil society players can help serve the interests of the people of the state.
The social cost benefit analysis of the various components has been worked out to understand the income gains to farmers, employment gains and other gains to the society at large. The total requirement of funds for the Mission for implementing the various components has also been tentatively worked out and the possible share that could be mobilized from different sources such as RKVY, NFDB, NEC, NCDC, SPA, State Plan, etc has been elaborated.
The successful implementation of the Mission can result in balancing the demand and supply of fish in the state, thus achieving self-sufficiency. There is even possibility for export once the production of fish exceeds demand. The impact of the scheme on employment generation will be quite significant.The Aquaculture Mission is an integral part of the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme of the Government of Meghalaya and it is estimated that the investment of about Rs. 1200.00 crore would be required over the 12th Plan Period. The Mission will be launched co-terminus with the 12th Five Year Plan.