Revenue collection from Kaptai Lake fishing in Ranganmati has fallen by Tk3.13 crore due to a decrease in fish production and collection in the fiscal 2020-21 compared to the previous fiscal year.
According to the Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC), Rangamati, its four fish-landing centres received 6,780 tonnes of fish this fiscal year which is 1,726 tonnes less than in FY20.
Fish production in the Kaptai Lake has also dropped by 305 tonnes.
As a result, the corporation has collected Tk12.11 crore in revenues in FY21 whereas it earned Tk15.24 crore in the previous fiscal year.
According to officials at the corporation, there was a shortage of water in Kaptai Lake towards the beginning of the fishing season in August last year due to a lack of rainfall and flow from the upstream.
In the shallow water, a huge amount of small fishes were caught towards the beginning of the season.
That is why fish production in the lake decreased, and the rest of the season saw less collection.
Shoaib Salehin, assistant sales officer at the BFDC, said fish traders registered with the corporation bring their catch to the landing centres and pay a tax of Tk17.5 for per kilogram of small fish and Tk20-Tk40 for big ones based on their sizes.
Traders are allowed to send the fish to different parts of the country only after paying the taxes.
Apart from the fish sent to other regions, fisheries, who work for the fish traders, sell the fish in the local markets.
Lieutenant Commander Touhidul Islam, manager of the BFDC in Rangamati, expressed concern if the water level will rise in the lake before starting of the fishing season in August this year. "If it does not, fishing in shallow water may lead to a record fall [in revenue]," he said.
He further said, keeping these issues in mind, they had released fry in the lake the day after fishing in the lake had been banned on 1 May.
Earlier, though, fry would be released much later, he added.
"Due to the release of fry at the right time this year, fish will get time to grow. This year, we have released 50 tonnes of carp fry produced in the BFDC's own hatchery, which is higher in amount than that of the previous years," he said.
Apart from releasing 46 tonnes of rui, katla and mrigel fry in the lake this year, they have also released 1,000 fry of shoals and 500 fry of chital fish.
Md Harunur Rashid, president of the Rangamati Fisheries Traders' Association, said fish traders had always demanded that fry be released immediately after the announcement of the fishing ban so that they get a chance to grow in three months.
But fry were released long after the fishing stopped last year, he said.
Although the water level was low in the lake when the ban was lifted, fishing started 10 days after the scheduled time, he further said.
Fishing is banned in Kaptai Lake from 1 May to 31 July every year for breeding carp fish in the lake and ensuring balanced growth of fry released in the lake.
The government provides fishermen with assistance under the Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programme during the ban.
About 22,000 fishermen make a living by fishing in the Kaptai Lake.