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By September 24, 2022March 1st, 2024No Comments

World Rivers Day

World Rivers Day is an event that honours all of the rivers and streams throughout the world. Various UN agencies have approved the World Rivers Day celebration because they believe it fits well with the objectives of the Water for Life Decade, whose primary goal was for actions to be taken by 2015 to fulfill international agreements on water and water-related problems. This celebration is held every year on the fourth Sunday of September and it also recognizes the rivers’ positive qualities while aiming to increase public awareness about them. This year, we wish to commemorate this day by highlighting Meghalaya’s numerous fish sanctuaries and their importance.

What is a fish sanctuary?

In essence, a fish sanctuary is a safe haven where these fish will remain protected. The different species of fish and other aquatic organisms in open water have been rapidly declining over the years as a result of both natural and man-made factors. It is crucial to make the required efforts to preserve and improve aquatic biodiversity. Therefore, creating a fish sanctuary is necessary to boost fish variety in the state and safeguard and conserve fish species from extinction. In order to ensure that fishing may be forbidden in these sanctuaries or restricted throughout the year or on a seasonal basis, the location and size of the fish sanctuary should be chosen while taking into account the opinions of local fishermen and their livelihoods.

Most prominent fish sanctuaries in Meghalaya:

Amlayee Mahaseer Fish Sanctuary

The Amlayee Mahaseer Fish Sanctuary is situated at Nongbareh Village in Amlarem of the Jaintia Hills District. The Village Dorbar takes care of this sanctuary, where Chocolate Mahaseer fish swim and populate the area.  To check that the water does not over-run, the river has been blocked off by a modest check dam. The traditional religious leader of the area, known as the Lyngdoh, had great insight. He was aware of the risks associated with such extreme overuse of the ecosystem. Therefore, he had persuaded both the Nongbareh Rim and Nongbareh Lyntiar communities of the value of protecting the river’s priceless fish, and he had issued an order prohibiting fishing in the river and imposing severe fines on anyone who did. As a result, Amlayee’s Mahseers prospered, and the Amlayee Mahseer Fish Sanctuary was established.


  • From Shillong Airport: 3 hr 15 min (109.7 km)
  • From Guwahati Airport: 6 hr 9 min (214.4 km)

Best time to visit: Right after the monsoon during the months of late August to March.

Songkal Wari Fish Sanctuary

The Songkal Wari Fish Sanctuary is a fish refuge constructed on the Simsang River in West Garo Hills District. Several mahseer fish species here are well-established, including the Chocolate Mahseer. This sanctuary has developed into a fish breeding ground where fish have multiplied into the hundreds of thousands and contributed to boosting the fish population throughout the full length of the Simsang River. Its main development objectives are to preserve the rapidly declining populations of native species along the river and to increase public awareness.


  • From Shillong Airport: 6 hr 39 min (260.3 km)
  • From Guwahati Airport: 4 hr 37 min (178.0 km)

Best time to visit: Right after the monsoon during the months of late August to March.

Asim Bibra Fish Sanctuary

The Asim Bibra fish sanctuary is a sanctuary for fish located in the Eastern Garo Hills District near the river Chibok. Numerous sanctuaries or ‘waris’ as they are known in the local language, exist starting at the source of the river Chibok, and Jackariash R. Marak, an elderly resident of the village, reported that there are around 11 (eleven) such Community Conserved ‘waris’ in the region. A resolution to sustainably protect the Asim Bibra fish sanctuary was passed by the community on February 3, 2007, under the direction of the Village Committee, with an eye on the possibility of sustaining livelihood. Additionally, they have tightly prohibited unlawful fishing methods, taken action to protect catchment regions, and implemented a well-managed annual community fishing plan to enhance livelihoods.


  • From Shillong Airport: 6 hr 6 min (246.5 km)
  • From Guwahati Airport: 4 hr 5 min (164.2 km)

Best time to visit: Right after the monsoon during the months of late August to March.

Deku Dobagre Fish Sanctuary

The Deku Dobagre Fish Sanctuary is a sanctuary for fish located at Deku Dobagre village in the South Garo Hills District. In order to accurately preserve the aquatic ecosystem of the river water and to conserve the biodiversity of the entire surrounding natural environment, the community of Deku Dobagre village has developed a unique fish preservation process. This sanctuary is located near the Bugai River, which is among the most well-known rivers in the Chokpot Block’s South Garo Hills area. This village has shown that it is feasible to keep fish even in rushing water by recruiting villagers to aid with their preservation efforts.


  • From Shillong Airport: 9 hr 26 min (346.1 km)
  • From Guwahati Airport: 5 hr 58 min (237.6 km)

Best time to visit: Right after the monsoon during the months of late August to March.


Why are fish sanctuaries important?

It is essential to build fish sanctuaries to conserve fish populations and to preserve and enhance aquatic biodiversity in order to address the fast declining fish population.

What kinds of fish mainly fill these sanctuaries?

The fish sanctuaries in Meghalaya house a vast range of fish, the bulk of which are the golden and chocolate mahseers.

When is World Rivers Day?

World Rivers Day is held on the fourth Sunday of September every year, and this year it will be held on the 25th of September.