Fish farmers in Jashore have been successful in cultivating 'Southern Salt Tengra' fish by artificial insemination process, which has opened the door of commercial production of this endangered local fish in the country.
Many farmers have already started producing this fish commercially in ponds and enclosures after collecting the fry from hatcheries.
Local fisheries department officials said commercial cultivation of this fish is very profitable. It will also help keep the endangered fish alive.
According to the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, there is a great demand for Salt Tengra fish in the local and international market as it is very tasty. Once this fish could be found in abundance in the water bodies of the coastal areas of the country. But it is now declining due to environmental changes.
However, the value of the fish in the local market has increased due to its unavailability.
The Saltwater Centre of the Fisheries Research Institute in Paikgacha, Khulna undertook a project on artificial insemination of Salt Tengra fish, fry production and innovation of farming techniques of this fish in enclosed ponds. The researchers have already achieved success in the project.
Dr Md Latiful Islam, chief of Saltwater Centre, Fisheries Research Institute in Khulna's Paikgacha, said, "In 2010, the centre was successful in breeding Salt Tengra fish brood rearing, artificial insemination and fry production techniques. The study also won national awards."
He noted that the number of Salt Tengra fish is declining in the natural water bodies. But it is now possible to cultivate this fish in hatcheries. As a result, there is a great potential for commercial production and cultivation of this fish.
Md Firoz Khan, a gold award winning fish farmer, has started production of Salt Tengra fish fry in Jashore. He has been doing research on fish farming for a long time at his Maa Fatima Fish Hatchery. He is also the president of the Jashore District Fisheries Hatchery Owners' Association.
"I started artificial insemination and fry production of Salt Tengra fish in 2019 on a trial basis. After a two-year trial, I have produced 1.5 crore fries of this fish this year. Fishermen of ponds and enclosures are collecting fries from my farm," he said.
Firoz Khan further said that this native species of fish has a great demand in the market as it is delicious. "But naturally its production is declining. That's why I started the trial of pollen production of this fish. It is now possible to cultivate it commercially and sell it in the market with success."
Claiming that he is the only person in Jashore to produce this Salt Tengra pollen, Firoz Khan further said, "It is possible to cultivate 60,000 fries in a bigha of pond in single cultivation. However, 40,000 fries per bigha can be cultivated in mixed cultivation. This fish can be marketed only after four months."
"The market price of this fish is Tk12,000-15,000 per kg. In the retail market the price would be Tk400-500 per kg. The mortality rate of this fish is very low, as a result, it is possible to achieve great success in farming salt tengra. A large part of the country's huge demand for protein can be met with this fish," he added.
Jashore Zilla Parishad Chairman Saifuzzaman Pikul collected four lakh fries from Feroz Khan for cultivating Salt Tengra. "I will cultivate these fries in my seven-bigha pond. If I get success, I will cultivate more fries in 150 bighas of water," he said.
Jashore District Fisheries Officer Anisur Rahman said, "Those involved in the fisheries sector of the district have always played an important role in the production of various fish pollens. The production of Salt Tengra through artificial insemination in hatcheries is a very good move. It is possible to make a good profit by cultivating this fish commercially."