The first-ever Emoinu Fish Festival was held on the occasion of Emoinu Eratpa Numit at Hatta Kangjeibung (In memory of weekly horse races held in times of kings) in Imphal East, Manipur on Tuesday.
The festival with 90 fish stalls, organised by the Directorate of Fisheries, witnessed thousands of customers.
Addressing the function, Minister of fisheries, Heikham Dingo said that the state government has been conducting an annual fish fair once a year since 1979 to encourage fish farmers of the state. The fair is also held during the Ningol Chakkouba festival.
The state government has made it a special focus to make Manipur a self-sustainable state in fish production, the minister said, adding that under this vision, various steps have been taken up to achieve the vision.
He also said that the fish festival will be held every year on Emoinu Eratpa Numit. The festival is to encourage fish farmers of the state to produce more fish and make it available at an affordable rate, he said.
“Though fish is staple food of Manipur, the state is unable to meet the demand which has resulted in importing ice-packed fish from outside the state,” the minister said, adding that importing fish not only drains the state's money but also creates many health issues.
There is a marked improvement in the state fish production and under various schemes like Loktak Livelihood Mission, RKBY, Blue Revolution, etc. the state is trying hard to meet the demand of fish in the state, he said and informed that even in today's fish fair, the state government had targeted to produce 50,000 kg of fish.
Dingo pointed out that Manipur has great potential for fish farming considering its geographical and climatic conditions.
The Meitei Sareng was already extinct from Manipur. It was successfully revived under the Sareng Project launched in 2021 under the initiative of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, he said.
Although the revived Sareng has reportedly grown nearly 3.5 to 4 kg, today's sales witnessed on those Sareng weighing not more than a kilogram as the big fishes have been preserved for use as parent stock. The cost of Sareng was Rs 1,200 per kg at the festival.
Director of Fisheries department, H Balkrisna also informed the media about the various initiatives taken up by his department to support the fish farmers, to make the state self-sustainable in fish products.
According to the director, the annual consumption of fish in Manipur is around 52,000 metric tons.
The state, however, is able to produce around 32 metric tons of fish. So, in order to meet the demands of the consumers, nearly 20,000 metric tons of fish were imported from outside the state every year, he said.
It may be mentioned that the state government had already announced the price of various fishes. Catla with less than 2 kg will be sold at Rs 210, but if it is 2 kg and above, it will cost Rs 270 and Rs 350 for 5 kg and above. Sareng (Wallago attu) costs Rs 1200 per kilogram.Rs 450 for Pengba/Khabak (below 300 gm and Rs 550 for above 300 gm), Porom (Murrel) – Rs 350 per kg, Ukabi (Anabas) – Rs 350 per kg, Tunghanbi (Tilapia) – Rs 150 per kg. Ngaton – Rs 450 per kg.
This time, only 2,000 kg of Sareng and over 50,000 kg of other fish are made available at the festival.