Imphal: Stating that Manipur is one of the biggest consumers of fish products in the country, Social Welfare, Fishery & Skill, Labour, Employment & Entrepreneurship Minister Heikham Dingo Singh Wednesday made an earnest appeal to the people of the state, especially fishermen, not to use electric current while catching their fish.
Catching fish by using electric current not only destroys the fish and its production, but it also affects largely the ecological balance of the water body, said the Minister while inaugurating the 44th Annual Fish Fair cum Fish Crop Competition, which is organised by the Department of Fishery, Government of Manipur, on the eve of Ningol Chakkouba, at the historic ‘Hapta Kangjeibung’, Palace Compound, Imphal.
Minister Dingo further informed that considering the importance of fish during ‘Emoinu Iratpa’, a religious festival of lights dedicated to the Meitei Goddess Imoinu Ahongbi, his department has decided to organise ‘Fish Mela’ every year as an encouragement to the fishermen of the state.
The Minister said that the total consumption/requirement of fish in Manipur is around 52,000 metric tons per year, according to a 2019 survey. However, the state could produce only 32,000 metric tons. But now with the active support of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the state has made around 40,000 metric tons, the minister noted.
H. Balkrishna, Director, Fishery, in his keynote address, said that despite producing a large quantity of fish in Manipur, we continue to rely on fish being imported from outside. This is, he said, because consumers are increasing day by day, but the number of people who produce fish is minimal.
Balkrishna said the increase in local fish production demands the involvement of all stakeholders, including fishermen and the public and multi-pronged strategies by the concerned department and officials. We have to support and encourage our fisher farmers. So that it can at least save Rs 300 crore being spent on fish imported from outside.
The officer added that the Fishery department is also launching an investigation to check whether or not chemicals are being used on fish imported from outside.
Kongkham Robindro Singh, Chairman, MANIDCO, and MLA, Mayang Imphal, Sanasam Premchandra Singh, MLA, Kumbi also attended the function.