A pilot project of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council has brought a ray of hope in bringing back the endangered local varieties of fish.
A group of researchers from Rajshahi University have become successful in farming eight species of native fish in Sarjat and Saganna Baor of Jhenaidah under the project financed by the World Bank.
The species are Koi, Shing, Magur, Pabda, Gulsha Tengra, Chhoto Tengra, Bazari Tengra and Taki.
The researchers said they have got the expected yield of the fishes from the project, which started in October 2019.
Professor Saleha Jasmine, dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at Rajshahi University, and Prof Yamin Hossain of the fisheries department at the same university, are working as principal and co-principal investigators respectively in the project.
They said that the conservation and breeding rates of these fishes in the baors (large water body) have been closely monitored over the one year. They have achieved 100 percent success rate.
There were about 50 species of fish, including these eight varieties, in different canals, beels, haors, baors, rivers, and ponds of the country.
Many of these fishes are now almost extinct. Some species are found in small quantities in certain areas.
Professor Md Yamin Hossain told The Business Standard, "We collected the broodfish of the eight native species from nearby beels and rivers and released them in the two baors. We have got the success by protecting their breeding grounds and environment."
He said if the almost extinct species of local fish, including these eight varieties, could be brought back to baors, a brood bank of local fish would be created. Then if these local fishes are not available anywhere in the country, they will be available in baors.
Fish farmers would be able to take broodfish of local species to their hatcheries from baors, he further said.
According to the researchers, local fishes are endangered due to the excessive increase in foreign carp fish farming, climate change and man-made factors. Several small native fish species have already become extinct.
There are innumerable baors in Kushtia, Jhenaidah and Chuadanga. These water bodies were the breeding ground of many local species of fish. The local varieties are going extinct as the carp fish farming has increased in these baors.
No extra care is required to increase the production of local fish. All you need is proper water bodies. But the water bodies are being occupied by hybrid species of fish.
Professor Saleha Jasmine said they want all the extinct fish in the country return to baors. That is why they are trying relentlessly.
She said, "Usually, local people, including the fishermen of the area, create obstacles in this type of project. But we have got the cooperation of the locals while working in this project."