Sayeed Hossain Shuvro
The government has been working to increase domestic fish production to 45 million tonnes by the year 2021 and with a view to benefit the small farmers, it has deployed various development initiatives, said Fisheries Department officials.
A Food and Agriculture Organization report says, Bangladesh has achieved the 3rd position, after China and India, in fish production in 2018, from the fifth position in 2017.
According to the Bangladesh Economic Review, the contribution of Fisheries to the GDP of Bangladesh is now 3.57 percent and more than 11 percent of the total population of the country is involved in fisheries.
He added, in fiscal 17-18, the country earned foreign currency worth around Tk 4,000 crore by exporting almost 69 thousand metric tons of fish and fishery products.
Officials said, Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in fish production, and the people’s per capita fish consumption has reached 62.58 grams which is in surplus of their daily protein demand as per the report of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
Citing the fishery production in 2016-17, sources said, the country had produced 84,000 metric tonnes more fish in 2016-17 fiscal year, against the production target of 40.50 lakh metric tonnes. The country produced 41.34 lakh metric tonnes in the 2016-17 fiscal, he told newsmen.
To maintain sustainable development of the sector, the government has taken up advance programmes including jatka conservation, and development of Hilsha resources, development of internal fish sanctuaries and conservation of natural breeding places, environment and social friendly shrimp culture extension, development, management and sustainable catching of sea fish resources, healthy and safe fish supply, and fish and fish product exports.
In addition to this, the government will set up 20 marine surveillance check-posts, provide license to all fishing trawlers and vessels within 2030, bring at least 5 lakh fishermen families under social security programme, recognise fishing ground within 2030, set up model village in the coastal regions and extend sea and coastal fishery programmes, officials noted.
B M Mustafa Kamal, Assistant Director (Administration-1), Bangladesh Fisheries said, the production of Rui , Katla, Mrigel, Silver Carp is the highest in the country. About 60 percent of the total production is Rui
Besides, the production of Tilapia, Pabda and Gulsha has increased. Moreover, the production of Telapia has doubled. He added, we are trying to bring the Pabda and Gulsha breed production to the level of production of Tilapia, which will play a big role in increasing the total production of fish.
But on visiting the Karwan Bazar Kitchen Market, this correspondent found that despite huge inland fish production, the prices of fishes are still high. Let alone buying expensive fishes like Hilsa, middle class and lower middle class people are struggling to buy even for Pangas being sold at TK 120 per kg.
Fish producer Kader Ali said that one kilogram of Pangas requires one and a half kilogram meal. Earlier, the cost was 40 to 60 taka. Currently it is about 100 taka. That is why fish prices are so high.
According to the annual data of the Department of Fisheries, the export of fish in the year 2016-17 fiscal was 68 thousand 305 decimal 68 metric tons. That was 75 thousand 338 Mt in the fiscal year. Besides, the export earnings are almost the same, but it is likely to reduce. In the fiscal year 2016-17, the contribution of this sector to the national total exports stood at 0.11 percent, which was less than 46 percent less than the fiscal year.
According to the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, currently there are 475 species of marine species, 360 freshwater species, 36 shrimp species, 16 crab species and 12 sacculoid fish (snails, mussels, starfish etc.). Currently, 60 species of sweet birds are on the way to extinction, but 20 species have been restored. They are responsible for reducing the size of the country’s internal water body.