The state Fisheries Department is making efforts to preserve indigenous varieties of fish. It declared about 67 rivers or stretches of them as fish sanctuaries where local as well as general species can thrive. The effort, though commendable, came too late.
The department has entrusted the task of protecting and preserving the fish varieties to local village committees, dorbar shnong and NGOs.
Meghalaya has lost many local fish species in the last 50 years and the reasons are manifold. But an important reason is human intervention that altered the fish habitats. Effluents from coal mining, cement plants and other factories contaminate streams and rivers, leading to extinction of several species of fish and other aquatic flora and fauna.
Another reason for the reduction and vanishing of species is greed. People would often use blasting method or chemicals like bleaching powder, copper sulphate and poisonous creepers, among others, to catch more fish. So, many precious, exotic and tasty fish species and aquatic lives are not only reduced tremendously but too many species are now extinct from the beautiful rivers of Meghalaya.
Among the rivers which were affected are the Lukha, Myntdu, Myntang, Jadukata, Kynshi, Rilang, Wahblei, Rwiang, Umiam, Umngot, Umngi, Simsang, Ganol, Manda, Jinjiram and Eldek.
In Meghalaya, we have many rivers and streams which abound in varieties of fish. The prominent rivers of Jaintia Hills are the Lukha, Myntdu, Amjngur, Umiurem and Myntang; in Khasi Hills the Umngot, Umiam, Umdiengkain, Khasi Mara, Jadkain, Umtrew, Umngi, Rilang, Kynshi, Rwiang, Wahblei, Riangdo, Ryndi, Riangdo, Umshiak and Wahkhri; in Garo Hills the Simsang, Ganol, Jinjiram, Eldek, Manda, Chibok, Rongdik, Ringsa, Chibe, Ringgi, Rongku and Bandra.
The fish sanctuaries as declared by the Fisheries Department are —
- Umlew in Ri Bhoi
- Jira in Siminaguri, Kynshi at Nongkhnum, Umshiak at Nongpdeng, Riangdo in Pormawlai, Riangdi at Nongshram, Kynshi at Umthied, Riangdo at Nongwardro, all in West Khasi Hills
- Rilang at Rohbah, Phodlongon at Mawiawmah, Tynhiang at Pdemtynniaw, all in South West Khasi Hills
- Rangsakona at Rangsa A’We, Rongdik at Eman Warima, Rongdik Emangre at Eman Dokru A’We, Rongdik Aruwagre at Juwa Wari, Chibe Nengkong at Chibe Nengkong, Rongku Bolkongpara at Bolkolpara, Simsang at Wachi Wari, Ganol at Mandal Wari, Ganol at Rongram, Ringgi at Dadenggre, Bandra at Gambegre, all in South Garo Hills
- Keralgram at Keralgram, Aruare at Aruare, Rongre at Rongre, Ieldek at Tangba, Rari Rangsopgre at Rangsopgre, all in North Garo Hills
- Chibok Nengmandelgre at Chibok Chachalgre, Chibok Rapdigre, Simsang Rongsapgre, Simsang Songmagre, Simsang Warimagre, Simsang Bansangre, Simsang Rongreng Baiza and Rongbing Kusimkolgre, all in East Garo Hills
- Umiew at Umiew, Wah Madan Tyrkhang at Tyrkhang, Wah Synrem at Mawpran, Weilynter at Nongpiur, Umlyngka river at Umlyngka, Umtangphar at Mawkynrew, Weinuir at Umsawwar, Wahumtyrkhang at Lyngkhoi, Wahmawsadang at Mawsadang, Wah Umlangmar at Mawspong, Wah Umdiengkain at Lawbah, Wah Khasi Mara at Thyllaw, Wah Tyrsad at Tyrsad, Wah Jadkain at Diengpasoh, all in East Khasi Hills
- Myntdu Syntu Ksiar, Myntang Wahiajer, Mynrud at Madan Mynrud, Umngot Chere at Shnongpdeng, Umsohkhri at Khonglah, Amjngur at Nongtalang, Amtngui at Nongbareh, Amiurem at Khliehmushut, Myntang at Elaka Mynso, Amkshar at Kudeng Thymmai, Amkahoh at Sohkha Mission, Thwai Sajri at Mustem, Umsalait at Umsalait, Umlamar at Kudengrim, all in West Jaintia Hills
- Stain at Tuber Kmaichnong and Myntdu river at Chamcham, in East Jaintia Hills.