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Tura (Meghalaya), April 4  Meghalaya’s fisheries sector would be made demand-driven so that there would be no room for spoon-feeding, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said on Monday while announcing a special expansion scheme to all committed farmers to expand their existing fish farms and hatcheries.

Addressing the 2nd Aqua festival here, he however asked the fish farmers not to look at pisciculture only for consumption and highlighted the manifold objectives of and opportunities of livelihood under the Mission. 

Noting that aquaculture can generate a lot of scope to promote rural and eco-tourism, Sangma 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.

Reiterating 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, as this would open up employment opportunity as a large number of foot soldiers would have to be employed for the purpose. 

Highlighting the difference between food security and nutritional security, Sangma 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.

Delivering the keynote address, Director of Fisheries, Ram Singh informed that the Aqua Fest 2017 was being held in two phases – one week in Garo Hills and one week in Khasi Hills to lay thrust in the fishery sector not only for expan sion but also market linkage with focus on allied sectors and to connect unemployed youth to Aquaculture Mission under IBDLP. 

West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi said that the Aqua Fest would be a game changer for aqua-culturists and pisciculturists of his area as their production has a promise of organic fish due to most of the streams and rivers of the region being residue-free.

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