Approach paper to 12th PLAN in respect of Fisheries Sector of Arunachal Pradesh for sustainable development:
Comments & suggestions.

Fish farming or Fish culture is a promising economic activity for combating the growing twine problem of rural poverty and unemployment as well as for malnutrition among the rural populace since it has special significant in its scope, nature and quantum of economic benefits to rural and low income communities. It is regarded as a potential income and employment generator. In other words, it places higher income and promotes job-led growth besides providing desirable and cheap animal protein food. Being naturally renewable to large extent, the echo-system for fish farming requires a very low input charging – a special significance. This is particularly true of Arunachal Pradesh which has abundant Inland Fisheries Resources in various forms (15560.00 ha still water & 9338.80 Kms flowing water as the happy home of rich and diversified fish biodiversity having more than 190 food/spot/game fishes, cultivable fishes & additional 165 numbers of non-food ornamental fishes as an unexplored treasure of the State.). Further, a large number of Mega-Hydro-Power Projects are also in the offing to tape the huge hydro-power potential of the State and on their commissioning by the 8 – 10 years, they will add to the existing lone reservoir (Ranganadi – 160 ha) potential significantly for fisheries management and exploitation. These resources are ideal for the development of both culture & capture fisheries. The local people are also nearly 100% fish eaters and receptive to the idea of fish farming as an occupation. However, by and large, these resources remain untapped as yet and by using their production potential the State can attain a land mark growth.
At this back-drop, fish farming in the State is about a half century since its inception 1958-59 and over the years it significance is increasing. Some of the impact/milestones of past developmental efforts are : culture of fish along-with the paddy in Apatani Plateau of Ziro in Lower Subansiri District popularly known as Paddy-Cum-Fish Culture as an established profitable fish husbandry, establishment of Trout in some high altitude streams and lakes in Tawang & West Kameng Districts as a pioneer in NE States for supply of Trout seeds to neighboring States, growing realization among the farming communities about the benefits of fish farming as the much more paying than Agriculture & Livestock etc.

Experiences, Major concerned areas & Strategies –
Fishing in open waters is an old traditional practice among the local people since time immemorial but fish farming although a novel concept, is a new venture to them and in consequence the farmers face problem in managing their production systems and this calls for due attention for their capacity building. Area to be developed is vast and with difficult terrain and isolation of fisheries resources and not readily accessible, fish marketing system is complex (fish must travel in Air Conditioned; other-wise it will get spoilt), the majority of the fish farmers are small & marginal with less than 0.50 ha water area and these are widely scatter according to habitation of the people and transfer of technology to such farmers poses a great challenge to the Department with the available resources. As against the proposed Outlay of Rs.3086.00 lakh during 11th Plan, allocation for the period was for Rs.1133.80 lakh only with an average Annual Plan size of Rs.22.76 lakh only which constituted less than 0.10% of over the total State Plan and the same is in declining trend and thus found to be very meager to meet the challenges ahead of the Department of which the lion share (more than 80%) is eaten up as the Salary, Wages and other liabilities and there is no scope to take up any pragmatic programme and or to provide required State matching share to take up CSS programme. At the back drop of this sector as already stated above it deserves to receive overriding priority with injection of greater funding of Rs.20 Core during 12th Plan. The major concerned areas & strategies are –

  • Lull of activity in the developed/settled areas in taking up new areas resulting in poor yield rate per unit area and low per capita availability of fish thereof.
  • Arunachal Pradesh is a deficit State in seed production – the basic component in fish farming with a wide demand-supply gape and needs not only to narrow down the same but also to keep pace with the growing demand.
  • Non-existence of marketing facilities.

In view of above, the major strategies during the 12th PLAN would include –

  • More emphasis on fisheries extension & training programme
  • Integrated seed production and marketing/supply programme with increase role of private entrepreneurs in rearing and seed production since it has been shown that production and operating efficiency in private sector is found better than Govt. sector.
  • Linking production with marketing i.e. assured and remunerative markets to generate enthusiasm among the farmers to exploit the optimum production potential of their units.
  • Technology delivery and integrated packages of technology and supply services/mechanism.
  • Creation of a nucleolus trout seed production infrastructure and ranching of Trout in high altitude lakes & streams for promotion of recreational fisheries.
  • Encouragement of ornamental fish breeding, culture & trade for rural lively hood.
  • To bring in additional 1500 ha area under systematic fish culture.

The fish resource base is of great relevance for building a self reliant economy of the rural people and with our commanding heights in technical and scientific skills, trained and professionalized manpower and other available basic infrastructure, with proposed allocation, etc. all made use of fish farming will assume a new dimension to make measurable impact on the economy and live of rural people with socially desirable results.