Success of Lashmon’s breeding programme could flood market with Meitei Ngakra

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Imphal, Aug 17: The artificial breeding of Meitei Ngakra (Clarlas Batrachus) at Kadompokpi Mamang Leikai in Imphal West district is expected to save the endangered local fish from becoming extinct. The breeding programme is being carried out by Naorem Lashmon, 46, son of N Angouba of the same locality.

Lashmon’s whole family is involved in the breeding of the rare species of fish and he is the first fish breeder in the whole of Manipur to undertake this programme. Earlier, such a breeding programme has been carried out on a small scale by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research under its wing the Central Institute of Fresh water Agriculture but the extensive farming of the fish has been taken up for the first time on such a large scale by Lashmon.

Lashmon has been in the business of breeding fishes for a long time and earlier he had taken up breeding of hybrid fish and Common Carp. However, the earlier venture was not too successful in terms of monetary returns. The present venture had the added challenge of saving the Ngakra variety from dying out.

Lashmon has taken training in pisciculture at the S Tomba and Sons Integrated Semi-intensive Fish Farming Pvt Ltd. and also under the National Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperatives Ltd., New Delhi along with other training programmes under the Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

Lashmon’s breeding programme was a little late this year around July last week although the programme should have started in March-June. He revealed that the eggs can be laid in a short duration of 15 to 20 hours by a special process in which the fishes are given hormone injections. At present the breeding farm has already around one lakh Ngakra fingerlings, he said adding that a female Ngakra weighting 200 to 300 grams can produce about 8000 fingerlings.

The equipment for the breeding farm which include some sophisticated kits have been provided by the Central Institute of Fresh water Agriculture. The programme is being monitored and guided by Dr. AK Sahu who is a principal scientist of the institute.

Scientists believe that the Meitei Ngakra had become very rare now in the state because of the use of pesticides in the farms by the famers. It may be interesting to note that the Indian government has banned the breeding of Thai Magur, a variety of cat fish which feeds on small fish. Due to the proliferation of Thai Magur in the past many varieties of indigenous fishes had become endangered in the state.

Dr. AK Sahu who tasted the Meitei Ngakra during a lunch organized by Lashmon at his residence, stated that it was the tastiest variety among all the other cat fish varieties. He also said that the fish was responsible for keeping away diseases and improving the intelligence of those who took it frequently.

The advantage with breeding Ngakra is that it can be bred in any place, even in the paddy fields, he said stating that, however, it requires constant monitoring.

Lashmon, on the other hand, said that he is all set to release around 50 lakh fishes in the market by the Ningol Chakouba festival next year. He also requested the concerned departments to take interest in the programme so that he could meet the targeted output.