Fish production in Jashore district is increasing every year, with an average production worth Tk500 crores a year. Along with local fishermen in the district, big companies have come forward in fish production and are farming many endangered fish.
They believe regular communication with those involved in fish production along with proper guidelines can help produce fish on a larger scale in the future.
According to the Jashore District Fisheries office, in the 2019-20 fiscal year, fish production in the district was 2,23,792 tonnes, up from 2,22,168 tonnes in 2018-19, and 2,18,610 tonnes in 2017-18.
Afil Aqua Fish, one of the major fish producing companies in the district with 2,000 employees, has eight units running on 667 acres of land where 10 tonnes of fish and fish fry are produced every day.
Sheikh Afil Uddin, managing director of Afil Group and the member of parliament for Jashore 1 constituency, said, "After I was elected as member of parliament in 2008, I started thinking about waterlogging in the Mandartala area of Sharsha upazila. Then I contacted the fisheries department and set up my aqua fish farm. After that I did not have to look back."
Many people have found employment in the farm, he said.
At present, endangered large-size native fishes are produced through intensive care at Afil Aqua Fish, keeping the quality of the fish intact.
Around 22 species of fish are farmed in Jashore district. Rui has the highest production, with 49,870 tonnes produced last year. Besides, 14,398 tonnes of katol, 25,999 tonnes of mrigel, 41,552 tonnes of silver carp, 11,781 tonnes of pangas, 20,793 tonnes of tilapia and 5,990 tonnes of other small fishes were produced.
SS Ahmed Faruk, a fish farmer and exporter from Raghunathnagar village in Jhikargachha upazila, said he has been producing different species of fish for 32 years. He has fishing enclosures (gher) on 1,716 decimals of land where fish worth crores of Taka is produced every year.
"I export 40 tonnes of pabda fish a year, worth $1 lakh. I am currently producing pabda, tengra, rui and bhetki fish," he said.
Mahbubur Rahman, fisheries quarantine officer of Benapole, said 32,67,044 kg fish was exported to India in the 2017-18 fiscal year, 34,83,630 kg in 2018-19, and 52,45,008 kg in 2019-20, worth more than $1.31 crores.
Abdul Quddus, the proprietor of Satata Fish in Jashore's Sharsha upazila, said his company farms pabda, tengra and other fishes. At least 50,000 tonnes of fish are produced here every year.
Jashore District Fisheries officer Anisur Rahman said fish are produced on 70,292 hectares of water bodies in the district. After Mymensingh, the district is the highest fish producer in the country.
"We are in constant touch with those involved in fish production, and help them with advice," he claimed.
In the 2019-20 financial year, the highest fish production was in Sadar upazila with 36,876 tonnes whereas the lowest production was 9,707 tonnes in Bagharpara upazila.
Besides, Abhaynagar upazila produced 29,574 tonnes, Jhikargachha 30,909 tonnes, Monirampur 37,725 tonnes, Keshabpur 33,820 tonnes, Sharsha 25,578 tonnes and Chougachha upazila 17,845 tonnes.