The Meghalaya Government has asked officials to find out the sources from where fish laced with formalin were brought to the State.
“We have banned the import of fish for 15 days. We need to know the origin of fish whose samples were sent for test and found positive for formalin,” Meghalaya Fisheries Minister said on Thursday.
He said that fish traders who import fish from outside like Andhra Pradesh have denied lacing of fish with formalin.
Formalin is a highly toxic preservative which is injurious to health.
Earlier, two samples out of 19 sent to a laboratory in Assam were tested positive for formalin.
The Meghalaya Government had banned the import of fish for 15 days with effect from July 23 and the ban will end on August 6, 2018.
The Minister said that selling of locally produced fish should be encouraged and urged urged consumers and sellers of local fish to complain if there are people try to prevent from selling and buying of local fish.
Ymbon said that most local fish produced by ponds are sold only in rural markets and imported fish were mostly supplied in East Khasi Hills district, about 18,444 metric tons during 2017-2018.
Meghalaya imported about 21,000 metric tons of fish annually from outside like Andhra Pradesh, while the State on its own could produce only around 12,000 metric tonnes annually.
Ymbon said that 25,000 fish ponds were to come up under aquaculture mission but only 17,000 ponds could be developed as the remaining 7,000 ponds did not get loan clearance from banks. To each beneficiary who wanted to develop a fish pond, the State Government provided 60 per cent subsidy, 15 per cent contribution by the beneficiary, and 25 per cent bank loan.
In the last five years, the fish ponds created under aquaculture mission could produce around 8,000 metric tonnes of fish in a year.