The first ever sales of fresh Sareng (Wallago Attu) were witnessed at the Annual Fish Fair cum Fish Crop Competition, 2022 on Wednesday (a day before the Ningol Chakouba festival) at Hatta Kangjeibung in Imphal East. This was the first such big sales after it’s revival.
Organised by the Department of Fishery, one expected to see a full-grown Sareng in the size of 3.5-4 kgs on Wednesday after it was revived under the Sareng Project. However, it appeared that most of the Sareng were less than a kilogram.
In this regard, Balkrishna, director of fishery department, while speaking to the media on the sideline of the function, clarified that the Sareng weighing 3.5 to 4 kilograms have been kept for pisciculture purposes.
The successful selling of fresh Sareng in the fair is an outcome of the Sareng Project launched in 2021 under the initiative of Chief Minister N Biren Singh with the aim to revive the Meitei Sareng which was already extinct.
Regarding the high cost of fresh Sareng which was at Rs 1,200 per kg, he explained that the fingerlings of Sareng were exported from Yangon (Burma) and its maintenance is very high as it feeds on live fishes.
Once the breeding process can be done in Manipur, its fingerlings will be distributed to numerous farmers, he said, adding that in this way it can be produced in higher quantities and the price would decrease too.
ALSO READ: For those who can afford
Talking about the common context of fish in the state, he said that the state spends nearly Rs. 300 crore every year on average in importing fishes as the state production is unable to meet the demands of the consumers.
He said with the intervention of modern technology, ventures and consultation with experts, the state government has been giving its best support to the state farmers to make Manipur self-sustainable in the near future.
The director also stressed the need to support the local fish farmers by buying their products considering the price fluctuation compared with the imported fishes to refrain from draining the state economy in importing fishes.
Stating that there have been various allegations for uses of harmful chemicals in the storage of imported fishes, he said that the government has taken up a pilot project to monitor the uses of such chemicals.
Fisheries Minister H Dingo informed that the state government is giving its best move to procure state’s own fishes such as Phabou Nga for the production of fermented dry fish (Ngari) which is an essential for everyday dishes in all the households of Manipur.
Dingo said that as fish is a common dish in almost the entire feasts organised in the state, its yearly consumption in Manipur is around 52,000 metric ton and as per the date of 2019 the state is able to produce only 32 thousand metric ton only.
With the fishery department working at its best in collaboration with fish farmers of Manipur, the state presently might have produced approximately 40 thousand metric ton, he added.
In order to encourage the fish farmers of Manipur and to generate enthusiasm amongst them, the minister also mooted organising such a fish fair on Imoinu Day which is the day where every worshipper of Imoinu consumed fish.
Stating that geographically and climatically the state has a great potential of fish farming, Dingo called on all the fish farmers to give their best effort to make Manipur self-sustainable in fish.
The government will also give its maximum support with the facilities of modern technology, he said and appealed to the fish farmers to refrain from any malpractice in fishing.
ALSO READ: For a bite of fresh Sareng
As many as 115 stalls were opened at the Wednesday’s fair and five types of indigenous fishes (Penba, Ngaton, Ngakra, Ukabi and Sareng) were also made available at different stalls.
The function was also attended by MLA of Mayang Imphal K Robindro and MLA of Kumbi S Premchandra as presidium members.