Fish farmers in Kurigram district have lost an estimated Tk2 crore worth of fish from 531 ponds owned by 433 farmers that have been washed away and damaged by floods.
District Fisheries officials said floods washed away 107.89 tonnes of fish worth Tk1.69 crore and 26.09 lakh fry worth Tk18.44 lakh in the district. Additionally, structures surrounding the ponds were damaged by the floodwater.
The total loss for farmers, including damage to ponds and fish, is approximately Tk1.98 crore, they added.
Fish farmers of all nine upazilas of the district were affected by the floods. Of those, Sadar upazila was the worst affected area.
In Sadar, fish from 396 ponds belonging to 302 farmers were washed away by floods. Besides, floodwater washed away structures surrounding the ponds. The total loss is estimated at Tk1.5 crore.
Farmers said this damage could have been prevented if the Fisheries Department had carried out an awareness campaign before the floods.
Refuting the allegation, District Fisheries Department officials said they had carried out a proper campaign about taking necessary steps to protect fishponds before the floods.
Taizul Islam, a farmer of Sadar Upazila, said he released fry worth Tk24,000 in two ponds on one acre of land. A week ago, the hyacinth floating in the flood waters of the Dharla river tore out the nets planted around the ponds and the fish were washed away.
"Many farmers could have saved their fish if the fisheries department had campaigned before the floods. However, I could not save the fish even after erecting the nets," he said.
Sohrab Ali, a fish farmer of Sadar Upazila, said, "I released fry worth Tk1 lakh in an acre of pond. One week ago, the pond was washed away by the floods of the Brahmaputra river."
Abdul Latif Sarkar, farmer of Ulipur Upazila, said the banks of two ponds on 40 acres of land have collapsed and almost all the fish have washed away. The pond has to be renovated for fish farming again.
Senior Upazila Fisheries Officer Ismat Ara of Kurigram Sadar said, "During the inspection, I noticed a huge loss by fish farmers. In this upazila, fish from 396 ponds were washed away by floods. The total loss of the farmers is estimated at Tk1.5 crore."
"To recover the loss, the farmers were advised to release the big fry by repairing the pond once the flood waters recede. If necessary, we will contact the hatchery owners who produce fry."
District Fisheries Officer Kalipada Roy said, "By warning of floods in advance, we advised farmers to catch the mature fish and to erect nets around the ponds. We also told them to put enough food in sacks in the pond so that fish stay in the pond because of the food."
According to previous data, the fish farmers here have never received government incentives, he added.
He said the loss for fish farmers was more than Tk1.98 crore as 531 ponds were washed away by the floods.
"We have prepared a list of affected farmers and informed higher authorities."