Vol. 5 Num 486 Fri. October 07, 2005  

3 sanctuaries to conserve pure carp species

The government is planning to establish sanctuaries at Halda river in Chittagong, Chalan Beel in Pabna and Sundarbans to conserve carp species of pure genetic quality.

This was stated by Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdullah Al Noman while speaking at a press conference yesterday on the occasion of signing a contract between World Fish Centre (WFC) and Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) to conduct a study on the fish resources of Halda.

As part of the plan, BSFF will conduct the study aimed at identifying the factors affecting genetic purity of fish stocks and causes of declining brood fish and spawn in Halda river.

WFC will give financial and technical assistance for the study.

The study, which is set to begin by October 15 and complete by December 17, will recommend a short-term remedial measures to prevent further decline of brood stocks and develop a project proposal for long-term sustainable recovery of fisheries to a maximum level of genetic purity.

The collection of carp spawn came down to only 100 kilograms in 2005 from 4,000 kilograms in 1946.

Dumping of chemical materials from Kaptai Paper Mills, plying of motorised boats, silt deposition and over fishing resulted in the declination of brood stock, said Abdullah Al Noman.

"If this trend continues, the country will suffer immensely from the lack of carp fish that meets 43 percent of fish demand in the country," said BSFF Executive Director Dr Mahmudul Karim.

He said the profitability of carp culture has been steadily decreasing as most of the hatcheries have been using genetically degraded low quality brood stocks that produce low quality fry.

The Halda river is a major shelter for the local carps of genetic quality as well as fresh water shrimp (Galda), he added.

"If the tradition of Halda river is recovered and conserved, it could be declared as the part of World Heritage," said BSFF Chairman Mahmudul Haque.

If Halda is declared a sanctuary and projects undertaken in this regard, the fishermen nearby the river will be rehabilitated through alternative livelihoods, the minister assured.

Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Abdul Karim, WFC Regional Director Alan Brooks, Prof Mohammad Ali Azadi and Prof Sekendar Khan of Chittagong University also spoke.