Shahidul Islam, a fish farmer in the Bagdhani area in Rajshahi's Poba upazila, could not sell fish during the lockdown as fish could not be supplied to Dhaka at that time. But after the withdrawal of the lockdown, he has sold fish worth Tk17 lakh.
Sadikul, another fish farmer of the same upazila, said on average he was selling eight to 10 truckloads of fish per month after the withdrawal of the lockdown. Each truck carries 700 kg to 800 kg of fish.
Abu Hanif Sardar of Durgapur has 35 ponds. Though the fish in five of his ponds died due to oxygen shortage several days ago, he has sold fish worth Tk30 lakh after the withdrawal of the lockdown. He is going to sell fish worth several crores of taka within a few days.
During the lockdown, which was enforced on March 26 and continued till May 31, the supply of fish to Dhaka was almost stopped. Besides, the selling prices of fish fell sharply.
Even though the prices are still low, fish trading has started in full swing like before.
Every day, around 140 fish-laden trucks go to Dhaka after meeting the demand of the district, according to the Directorate of Fisheries in Rajshahi.
Though, several days ago, fish worth Tk12 crore died in a single day due to oxygen shortage in the ponds, the overall situation of fish trading in Rajshahi is improving.
The fish farmers of the district now hope for a turn around.
The Business Standard talked to several fish farmers about the current condition of the market. They said the selling prices of fish had not returned to normal.
Sadikul said, "I sold Rui fish at Tk320 per kg in February. Now I have to sell it at Tk270 per kg."
Farmers say that the prices of fish have decreased by Tk40-Tk50 per kg, said. However, they expect the prices to increase soon as their fish are now being supplied to Dhaka.
Anisur Rahman, a fish farmer at Sripur village in Bagmara upazila, said he sold fish worth Tk10 lakh after the lockdown was withdrawn. He has more fish in his ponds. He will sell them when the market situation becomes normal like before.
There are 50,000 ponds in 13,000 hectares of land in Rajshahi district, according to the Directorate of Fisheries. On an average, 81,000 tonnes of fish, 85 percent of which are of the carp variety, are produced in these ponds every year. Rajshahi is on the top of the list in producing carp fish in the country. Around nine lakh people, including 17,000 fish farm owners, are involved in fish production and business in the district. Fish worth around Tk1,620 crore are traded annually in Rajshahi.