Fish population declines, prices rise in Bangladesh
Feb 25, 2007 - 8:17:43 AM

Dhaka, Feb 25 - There is a proverb in Bangladesh: 'Gola bhora Dhan, pukur bhora mach', meaning life is good when you have a silo full of paddy and ponds full of fish. But the proverb may lose currency as the fish population is dwindling on account of vanishing rivers.

Bangladesh is criss-crossed by around 230 rivers, including three major rivers, the Padma, Meghna and Jamuna. Once this huge water area was highly productive for fish and contributed 65-70 percent of total fish production about three decades ago. But now less than 40 percent of fish production comes from this source.

The fish population has declined and the poor people in rural Bangladesh cannot have fish in their diet as the price is beyond their reach.

According to experts, the wetlands declined by 70 percent in last 50 years. The wetlands measured about 9.3 million hectares 50 years ago, which has come down to about three million hectares.

Enamul Huq, senior scientific officer of Bangladesh Fishery Research Institute in northern Mymensingh, 120 km from Dhaka, told Xinhua Saturday that that the country has 296 species of sweet water and saline water fish, and 511 species of sea fish which includes shrimps.

Population explosion during the past decades, enhanced irrigation, widespread use of pesticides and water pollution owing to industrialization had a damaging impact on fish production.

Huq said of the total 296 species of fishes, 54 species were endangered critically and 12 species are vulnerable. He said Bangladesh annually required 2.6 million tonnes of fish whereas the country produces 2.2 million tonnes.

Bangladesh earns about $290 million every year exporting fish and frozen fish food, mainly shrimps to different countries.

All rights reserved by RxPG Medical Solutions Private Limited ( )