Mahfuja Mukul: The climate change has had a negative impact on the country’s fisheries sector. Fish production has decreased due to adverse effects of climate change. Due to reduced production, the price of fish has almost doubled. As a result, consumers are in dire straits.
Those concerned say that 40 percent of the country’s total demand for fish is produced from natural sources such as reservoirs, canals and rivers. The remaining 60 percent of fish production is in from of farming. Climate change is disrupting both types of production. Due to this, there is a shortage of fish in the market compared to the demand. The price has also increased.
In this regard, the professor of aquaculture department of Bangladesh Agricultural University, Faculty of Fisheries Mohammad Mahfuzul Haque told Daily Industry that climate change has had a negative impact on fish production through natural sources and farming.
In our country, fish breeding usually starts from eggs between February and August. The maximum fish production is from June to August.
But this year due to climate change May, June and July have gone through severe drought. Due to lack of rain, there is less production of fish in the natural system. Not only that, the production of fish through cultivation has also decreased. Because, this time there was not enough water.’
The production of fish fry and eggs has decreased due to climate change – Director General of Fisheries Department K Mahbubul Haque admitted. He told Daily Industry that fish production has increased by five percent for the last 15 years. Besides, the tendency of people to eat fish has also increased. According to the latest food survey, people are consuming 68 grams of fish per day.
Our goal is that people will eat 81 grams of fish every day. We will reach this goal in 2041. Fish production increased by three percent last year. There may not be much growth in this financial year (20213-24). Due to the adverse effects of climate, the temperature has been quite hot since February. As a result, the production of fish fry and eggs has decreased.
In response to the question whether the price of fish has increased in the market, he said, “The price of fish is higher than last year.” The 50 fish that I bought last year for Tk 150 per kg, now the price is more. Even if the price increases, I think the production is more than the demand.
Director General Mahbubul Haque said, ‘Climate change is not only because of us. Due to global environmental pollution. Even in this situation, the plan is being taken so that more fish can be produced in less space in the coming days.
In this regard, the Chairman of the Environment Movement (PABA) Abu Naser Khan told that fish are decreasing due to climate change – this is absolutely true. When I was a child, I used to watch Baisakh, the rain would start soon after the arrival of the senior month. After hearing the call of the ban, the fishes would rise from the water (up from the water).
“Due to lack of rain during monsoon, no fish including Boal-Chital are able to reproduce at the appropriate time. The fish lay eggs and hatch in open water. Now that’s not happening. Apart from this, due to the reduction of canals, rivers and water bodies, fish have also decreased. The government should pay close attention so that no houses or factories are built by filling the reservoirs. We have to work to protect ponds, canals and rivers.
In this regard, Additional Secretary of Fisheries Department Abdul Qayyum told Daily Industry, “Rain has decreased during fish breeding this year. Because of this, fish production has also decreased.
When asked, Fisheries and Livestock Minister S M Rezaul Karim told Daily Industry, “We have no hand in climate change.” Research is underway on how to produce more fish in less time. Efforts are being made to feed fish to all the people of the country. For this, whatever is necessary is being done.
According to a statistic of the Department of Fisheries, the demand for fish of the people of Bangladesh was 42 lakh 38 thousand tons in the fiscal year 2021-22. Production has been 47 lakh 59 thousand tons. However, the Department of Fisheries is fearing that the production will be less than the previous year.
Director General Kh Mahbubul Haque told Daily Industry as the reason for the decrease, “On the one hand, the effect of climate change, on the other hand, due to the Ukraine-Russia war, the price of everything, including fish food, has increased. Due to this, farmers have to sell fish at higher prices. Consumers have to eat fish at a higher price.
Current fish market
According to the information of the government market monitoring organization Trading Corporation of Bangladesh- TCB, on Wednesday (August 30) rohi fish was sold in the capital for Tk 450 to Tk 550 per kg. Which was sold for Tk 250 to Tk 350 a kg on the same day a year ago i.e. 2022. Three years ago i.e. at the same time in 2020, the same fish was sold at Tk 200 to Tk 300 per kg.
That is, in the space of three years, Tk 200 rohi fish is being sold at Tk 450 per kg. Tk 250 per kg has increased. And in the span of one year, the price of roe fish has increased by Tk 200 per kg. The price has doubled in a period of only one year. The price of native fish has increased the most.
Like Ruhi fish, pangas and tilapia, which are known as poor people’s food, have also doubled in price. Shrimp, Tangra, Mala, Kai, Shing and Pabda are not far behind in the price hike race. The prices of carb fish including Chital, Katal, Mrigel have increased equally.
How much does a fish cost?
Ruhi and Katla are being sold at Tk 350 to Tk 450 per kg depending on the size. In early 2022, it was sold at Tk 240 to Tk 320 per kg.
In 2022, Tk 130 to Tk 150 per kg were sold in 50 varieties. Now it is selling at Tk 220 to Tk 260 per kg. Tilapia fish is being sold for Tk 230 to Tk 270 per kg. Which in 2022 was Tk 130 to Tk 160 per kg. That is, the price per kg has increased by more than Tk 100.
Horn fish of Tk 350 per kg is now being sold at Tk 500 to Tk 600. Tk 250 fish is being sold for Tk 400 to Tk 450 per kg.
Pabda fish, which was sold at Tk 300 to Tk 320 a kg a year ago, is now being sold at Tk 400 to Tk 500. Tk 250 to Tk 300 kanchki fish is being sold for Tk 550 to Tk 600.
Tk 400 to Tk 500 per kg shrimp fish is being sold at Tk 700 to Tk 800. Tangra fish sold at Tk 250 to Tk 300 is being sold at Tk 500 per kg. Mala fish of Tk 300 per kg is being sold at Tk 400.
Desi kai fish is being sold at Tk 600 to Tk 700 per kg depending on the size. Horn fish is being sold for Tk 800 to Tk 1000. Hilsa fish is being sold for Tk 1000 to Tk 1500 per kg. Tk 500 to Tk 600 per kg of domestic small shrimp fish. Kaika is being sold at Tk 600 to Tk 700, Bine at Tk 700 to Tk 800 per kg.
Fishermen changing their profession
Gafargaon fisherman Nirmal Chandra Burman told Daily Industry that he has been fishing since birth. But I have not been able to catch fish in the river for the last three-four years. So, I have taken lease of Khyaghat. Live with the income that comes from here.
Like him, Jagdish Chandra Barman of Bharpur village of Gafargaon upazila earned his livelihood by fishing in the river for 40 years. He said that fish worth five to Tk 6 thousand was caught in the net during monsoon. Now I don’t get Tk 2,00 to Tk 2,500 fish a day. Even before last three to four years, large fishes including Bine, Shrimp, Boal, Punti were available in the river. But now no fish comes into the net except the cuttlefish.
Like Nirmal and Jagdish, 50 families of Bharpur villages cast nets in the river to catch fish. He used to earn his living by fishing. But for the last two to three years there is no fish in the river. As a result, the nearby bills (Churuntala, Maj bill, Undar bill and Kuri) are farming on lease. They make a living by selling that fish.
If you throw a net in the river, no fish will come. There is no fish in the bill either. So, I am doing fish farming with bill lease by borrowing. Along with this, I am living my life by collecting tolls on the bridge lease’ – said Jagdish Chandra Barman.
Like Bharpur village in Gafargaon, hundreds of fishermen in Mirzapur in Kapasiya Tok and Pakundia areas have left the river for other professions. During the rainy season when there is no other work, they go to the river by boat to fish.
Moinul Ahsan, a buyer of the capital’s Rampura kitchen market told, “It has been six months since I stopped eating big fish due to the increase in price.” Now eating small fish also 8 to 10 days in a month. I am eating vegetables and eggs for the rest of the days.
Sakhawat Hossain, a fish trader in the market, told Daily Industry that the price of fish is high. Due to lack of rain this year, fish production is low. Due to this, the supply is low. Prices are a bit high due to low supply.
Sanjeev Mondal, a trader at Karwan Bazaar, toldthat 60 to 70 percent of the fish in the market was local even 10 to 15 years ago. 20 to 30 percent of the fish available were farmed. At that time farmed fish was cheaper than native fish. Still people did not want to buy farmed fish.
“Now 70 to 80 percent of the fish in the market is farmed. Native fish is scarce. Which come in two to three times more expensive than farmed fish. Still sold out quickly.
Rupam Howladar has been trading fish in the market for 35 years. When asked, he told that the market used to be filled with various fish including desi kai, shing, tangra, punti, taki, chital, ruhi and boal. But now there is no native fish. This is due to climate change. Due to insufficient rainfall during monsoon, fish production is decreasing. As a result, the fish is not available in the market.
Fishermen-traders are also saying the same thing. According to them, fish breeding takes place during the monsoon season. Generally, fish breeding season starts from February. However, most chicks are produced and sold in May, June and July. But due to severe drought till July this year there was no water suitable for cultivation in ponds or fish enclosures. As a result, the production of fish was not as per the demand. Although the rains started from the first of August, it is not possible to supply eggs and chicks as per the demand.
According to the calculations of the Department of Fisheries, 15,799 kg of fry were produced in 102 government hatcheries in the fiscal year 2021-22. 6 lakh 11 thousand 787 kg of fry were produced in 874 private hatcheries. Out of this, 1 lakh 79 thousand 416 kg of chickpeas are produced in Mymensingh district. In Jessore, 70,740 kg of chicks are produced.
Ritish Kumar Pandit, owner of Reliance Aqua Farms in Mymensingh told that the breeding of tilapia and pangas fish has decreased due to lack of rain and intense heat. Breeding of other fish such as tilapia and pangas fish has also decreased. As a result, we are not able to provide fish according to demand.
Zahirul Islam, another businessman in the same area, told Daily Industry that on one hand, the price of fish food has increased, on the other hand, new fish production has stopped due to lack of rain and heat. As a result, I have now closed four of my six enclosures.
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