Vol. 5 Num 351 Wed. May 25, 2005  

Hundreds collect fish eggs from Halda
Natural spawning increases several times this year

The Halda river wore a festive look on Sunday night when hundreds of fishermen collected fertilised eggs released by carps including Ruhi, Katla, Mrigel and Kalaboush.

Halda river in Chittagong is the only natural spawning and breeding centre of fishes in the country.

The fishermen collected eggs for about three hours from 11 pm in about one kilometre stretch of the river from Noahat to Garrduara in bordering Hathazari and Raozan upazilas, a press release of Bangla-desh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) here said on Monday.

A five-member team from BFRI in Chandpur led by Principal Scientific Officer Dr. Md. Khalilur Rahman witnessed the egg collection.

The BFRI team observed that the boats collected at least two buckets of eggs each, which would produce about 35 kgs of spawns. Release of eggs is many times more than last year's, it said.

Following last year's poor release of eggs, BFRI took up a project titled, 'Investigation on Spawning of Major Carps in Halda' at the directive of Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdullah Al Noman to increase availability of naturally released eggs.

A five-member team led by Dr. Khalilur Rahman earlier identified some reasons behind decline in spawning.

The reasons included unplanned construction of sluice gates on connecting canals, illegal netting of Broad Fishes (mother fisher) and operation of mechanised boats along the breading and spawning centre of the river.

The team recommended eight points to ensure proper spawning and breeding in the Halda river.

As per its recommendation, the government declared the river from Nazirhat bridge to Burishchar a fish sanctuary and took some measures.

These included keeping passage open for migration of spawning fishes, patrol by law enforcers along Sattarghat, Garrduara and Maduna-ghat to check illegal netting of mother fishes during spawning season (March 15 to June 30), restriction on operation of mechanised boats along the spawning points during the period, setting up of hatcheries at Garrduara and Noahat for proper hatching of spawns, said Dr. Khalilur Rahman while talking to this correspondent.

If illegal netting of broad fishes can be stopped, fishes worth over Tk 3000 crore could be produced from the eggs collected only from the Haldariver, fishery officials and local fishermen said.

During Bangla months of Baishakh and Jaishtha (April and May), different spices of fishes like Rui, Katala, Mrigel and Kalaboush from Karnaphuli, Matamuhuri and Sangu rivers start migrating to the spawning center at Halda.

At a particular time, mostly during the first shower of the monsoon, they start releasing spawns (eggs) in the river stretching from Sartterghat in Raozan to Maduna-ghat in Hathazari upazila.

The spawns are released in two to three phases. Each phase continues for around 12 hours.

The fishermen preserve the collected spawns in small ditches dug on homesteads and get the fries hatched out within four days. The 4-day old fries are sold at Tk 12000 to 14,000 per kilogram to fish farmers coming from different parts of the country.

Fishermen keeping spawns collected from Halda river in ditches dug on homesteads. Natural production of spawns increased manifold this year following measures by authorities. PHOTO: Zobaer Hossain Sikder