Pine City to promote sport fisheries

SHILLONG: With angling being one of the popular hobbies of the people in Meghalaya, which has numerous rivers and streams, the departments of fisheries and tourism have decided to jointly promote "sport fisheries" in the state.

"This will offer an opportunity to all angling enthusiasts to travel to far off places for angling. It will also boost the economy of the state as hotels, restaurants, lodges and sport fishing equipment shops will be set up near angling hotspots, thereby generating employment for the locals," says an official.

Informing that the fisheries department has already earmarked Rs 20 crore for the programme, the official said the total budget works out to Rs 26.43 crore.

"The department will identify suitable pockets in rivers and develop them for sport fisheries. After development, these spots will be handed over to the communities, NGOs, angling associations for management and angling will be allowed on payment of fixed fees," he added. He said locals would be engaged to prevent indiscriminate catching of fish.

He added that country boats, including other accessories required by the river patrolling personnel, would be provided and sheds for sheltering the guards would be constructed near "sensitive areas" of the rivers. "Sport fisheries will undoubtedly generate income for the rural people and also help conserve the indigenous fauna of the state," said another official in the tourism department.

There are numerous angling spots in Meghalaya, one of which is at Ranikor, a small town on the India-Bangladesh border. About 140 km from Shillong, it is one of the best fishing spots in the state with its immense natural beauty and innumerable fresh water fish.

"The place offers great opportunity to be converted into one of the angling paradises in the state," the official said. Other rivers, including Simsang in Garo Hills, Rilang, Khri and Umngot in Khasi and Jaintia Hills, are some of the known sporting sites in Meghalaya, where angling competitions are organized from time to time.