SHILLONG, OCT 20: With seven and half kilos of fish as his booty, angler TS Syiem was the proud winner of the first ever “Catch & Release Angling Competition” held at the picturesque Wards Lake followed by K Kharkongor and W Syiemlieh as second and third runner up respectively on Monday.
Organised by the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) under the Meghalaya fisheries department as a run-up to the 2nd Meghalaya State Aqua Fest, 2014 to be held from October 22, the “Catch and Release Angling Competition” is the first of its kind but the Meghalaya fisheries department principal secretary KN Kumar promise that this competition will be an annual affairs bringing smiles on the faces of avid anglers.
Syiem got a cash award of Rs 5000 and a memento, with Kharkongor pocketing Rs 4000 and Syiemlieh Rs 3000 respectively along with the memento.
Even though the competition was held on working day, it saw participation of 506 anglers, some of them coming all the way from Ri Bhoi and Jaintia hills districts.
The fishes were caught and release after being weigh by the fisheries department officials. In the words of KN Kumar, the “Catch & Release Angling Competition” is a mental benchmark in the state history, which will be an annual event, as he said that “All fishes are not meant to be killed, some of them are meant to live.”
The anglers had to pay an entry fee of Rs 200 each and the fisheries department collected Rs 1 lakh and the proceeds will go to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
The angling competition also attracted lots of visitors to the Wards Lake. According to the additional principal chief conservator of forest CP Marak there were around 2000 visitors who visited Wards Lake between 10 am to 3 pm, which was the timing of the competition. During normal days, he said the average number of visitors who visited this tourist spot in the city is about 500.
Obviously the “Catch & Release Angling Competition” aims at spreading a message on the importance of conservation of aquatic life and water bodies. As Kumar hoped that this completion of catching and releasing fishes will soon become a habit for the anglers.
An avid angler himself, Meghalaya chief secretary PBO Warjri who gave away the prizes to the winner during the closing ceremony, underscored the importance of preserving the water bodies and aquatic life in the state that have been destroyed due to rampant usage of harmful and poisonous substances in the water bodies which not only kill the fishes but also affect the waters and the environment adversely.
Warjri said that people must not kill all the fishes because there are fishes which must be allowed to grow and breed. He said, “There is joy is angling if we can catch big fishes but must avoid killing them rampantly as this will affect the water bodies and aquatic life.”
Warjri said that small fishes must be spared as they must be allowed to complete their cycle of breeding. He said, “Then we can be assured of lots many fishes which will be a joy to the anglers.”
Warjri also hoped that the competition will also open the mind of the anglers on the importance of releasing fishes and allowing them to mature to avoid extinction.
Besides Warjri and Kumar, other who spoke during the closing ceremony were Meghalaya planning department principal secretary RM Mishra, additional principal chief conservator of forest CP Marak.- By Our Reporter