The country's fish export has started getting back on track after a brief downturn due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Khulna division, the southern region of the country, exported fish worth Tk762.46 crore in the last three months (July-September) of the current financial year, according to the Khulna Quality Control Office.
This includes Bagda, Galda and Harina varieties of shrimp, and some other species of fish.
Galda (lobster) is worth Tk109.17 crore, bagda, Tk516.10 crore, Harina, Tk16.39 crore and various species of fish have been exported for Tk3.66crore.
Among the exported fish, 9,928 tonnes of different fish species have been exported from Khulna division. This includes 810 tonnes of lobster; 6,520 tonnes of bagda; and 242 tonnes of Harina. Additionally, 72 tonnes of local fish species, 125 tonnes of crab, fish scales and shrimp shells have been exported.
District Fisheries Officer, Mashiur Rahman said the fish farming trade in the district had incurred a Tk200 crore loss since exports had been suspended for several months owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.
However, fish production has increased in the district this year. Since traders were unable to catch fish in the aftermath of export suspension, the fish grew in size within the enclosures, he said.
With the increase in fish production, Mashiur Rahman hoped that farmers would be able to rebound from Covid-induced losses.
According to the Satkhira Department of Fisheries, there are 54,935 bagda enclosures covering 66,862 hectares of land. This year, 52,345 farmers in the district have produced 21, 441 tonnes of bagda.
Similarly, there are 11,662 lobster enclosures covering 9,378 hectares of land. This year, 9,867 farmers in the district have produced 6,542.5 tonnes of galda.
Harina shrimp production has increased to 3,410 tonnes. Additionally, 31,393.5 tonnes of other fish species have been produced in these farms, it added.
According to ATM Tawfiq Mahmud, Fisheries Inspection and Quality Control Officer at the Khulna Quality Control Office, said that among the shrimps exported abroad, 80 percent of Bagda is exported to 27 European countries. The remaining 20 percent is sent to other countries, including the US, Japan and India.
Also, other fish species, which constitute two percent of total fish exports, are sent to other countries, he added.
Although shrimp is ahead in terms of export, the demand for freshwater fish is higher among domestic retail buyers. About 12-15 tonnes of fish is sold from Sultanpur Fish Market of Satkhira town every day, according to Amir Hossain, a fish trader at the market.
Asaduzzaman, a leader among fish wholesale market traders, said fish worth Tk1.5 crore is being sold every day from the Binerpata Fish Market in Satkhira Sadar.
These include Vetki, Bhangan, Parshe, Tangra, Datina, Bhola and small Harina, Chaka, Chamni shrimp.
According to the District Fisheries Officer, local fish species produced in the south - much in demand in Chattogram, Sylhet, Rangpur and Dhaka - are dispatched to domestic markets nationwide.
Anwar Hossain, who runs a fish transport business here, said, "After being closed for a few months due to the virus outbreak, I currently sell 3-4 trucks of fish to Chattogram every day, worth Tk5-6 lakh. Each truck contains 15-16 tonnes of fish."