ITANAGAR, Jun 20: Fisheries Minister Gabriel D Wangsu chaired his first review meeting with the Department of Fisheries at the Civil Secretariat here on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by Fisheries Commissioner Saugat Biswas, Fisheries director Joyshil Taba, and other department officers.

During the meeting, Wangsu underscored the importance of channelizing youth energy by creating a pool of skilled fish farmers and entrepreneurs among the educated unemployed. He directed the Department to draft a framework for “Skilling Young Fish Farmers for Self Employment” to be presented in the upcoming Budget Session.

As part of the Department's '100 Days Action Plan,' he emphasized the necessity of framing an 'Aqua Policy' tailored to the state's unique topography and physiography. He also called for the refurbishment of the lone Fish Farmers Training Centre at Emchi to serve as the hub for training programs and the revamping of the ‘Atma Nirbhar Matsya Palan Yojana’ for smoother implementation and greater dynamism.

Biswas suggested collaboration with reputed research institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, and the Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to achieve the skilling goals for fish farmers. He also highlighted the potential of ornamental fisheries, culture, propagation, conservation of indigenous fish species, and the food processing sector for sustainable growth.

Wangsu reiterated the vast potential of the fisheries sector, noting that with appropriate policy intervention, it could significantly alleviate poverty and unemployment.

Following the fisheries meeting, Wangsu convened an interactive session with officials from the Food & Civil Supply and Legal Metrology & Consumers Affairs departments, attended by secretary Opak Gao and director W Khimun. He emphasized the proper implementation of the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) to ensure that every resident of the state benefits from this national flagship program.

In a separate meeting with officials from the Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary (AHV) departments, discussions focused on the 'New Policy on Agriculture and Horticulture' announced by the state Cabinet on June 13. Commissioner Bidol Tayeng highlighted the key points of the new policy aimed at enhancing the agricultural sector's productivity and sustainability.