TAPRAN CHAKRABORTY – THE NEW NATION – BANGLADESH
At least fifty-seven indigenous varieties of sweet water fishes, particularly small ones, are on the verge of extinction throughout the southern region.
According to a study conducted by Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, in recent past more than 260 varieties of sweet water fishes were available in Barisal division which now decreasing every day and already 57 varieties of regional sweet water fishes marked as endangered at the verge of extinction in southern region.
Probir Kumar Ganguly, professor of Zoology department of Barisal Brojo Mohon College, cautioned these varieties would be extincted within next ten years.
He viewed that frequent and indiscriminate use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers in agricultural land , farming hybrid, aggressive carp variety of fishes had directly or indirectly been destroying the open and culture water fishery resources and fish food organisms of the wetland and floodplains.
Barisal divisional fishery office sources claimed that over-fishing due to increasing population, environmental crises like siltation of open sources of sweet water like rivers, canals, ponds, enclosures , sharp declining of spawning, breeding ground and natural seed production of fish in most areas, pollution of water bodies by industrial wastes, chemical fertilizers and pesticides and lack of fish sanctuaries guided by proper policy mechanisms led to such a situation.
Divisional fishery office sources said six districts of Barisal division have 4.5 lakh hectors of river,2.84 hectares of river estuary ,20 thousand hectares of bil or haor,1.45 lakhs hectares of polder and enclosures to produce 1.37 lakhs tons of sweet water fishes against the regional demands of 1.57 lakhs metric tons of sweet water fishes.
Besides those open water sources there are about 40 thousand hectres of closed water bodies including 86,200 ponds and ditches on 23,500 hectres of land, five lakes on 900 hectares of land, other small water bodies on 15,600 hectares of land.
In 2004-05 fiscal 13,000 metric tones of indigenous varieties of fishes were produced from those closed water bodies, which decreases to 8,000 metric tons in 2007-08 fiscal, sources informed.
Bankim Chandra Biswas, assistant deputy director of Barisal divisional fishery office, said they have preserved photo description of 86 local varieties of sweet water fishes of the region and within last five years average yearly production of these fishes have been decreased to 59.68%.
If this rate of indigenous sweet water fish production continued to be falling down, then production of those fishes in open and closed water sources would be decreased to zero percent within next ten years, cautioned ADD of divisional fishery officer.
Thirteen out of those endangered 57 including Nandina, Ghora, Swarna Puti, Moha Shoul, Rita, Kajli, Ghaura, Bacha, Shilong, Pangas, Bagha Aier, Chenua and Gila Shoul, are mostly endangered.
Sixteen other varieties including Foli,Bao Bain, Kash Khoira,Tat Kini,Golsha, Bash Pata,Gang Magur,Kucha,Nama Chanda, Lal Chanda,Bish Tara,Veda,Raga,Tara Bain and Shal Bain, also marked as endangered.
Rest 28 varieties including Chitol,Joya, Khoksa,Sefatia,Kala Bata, Kali Boush,Ghonia, Dhela, Boal,Darkina,Beti, Rani,Aier, Tengra, Pabda, Ek Thotha,Kota, Kumirer Khil,Napit Koi, Neftani, Gojar, Boga, Ram Sos, Chaumma Chingri,Taki, Khoilsa, Molanti, Deshi Koi,Magur, Sing, are also near to be endangered.
Abdul Aziz, deputy director of Barisal divisional fishery office, said along with the biological management system of the water bodies, there is a need to establish ‘fisheries sanctuary’ and shifting control of water body management from land ministry to fisheries ministry to preserve all varieties of fish.