Floods take heavy toll on fish farms


The recent monsoon floods took heavy toll on fish enclosures in the country’s affected northern districts washing away fish worth millions of takas.

Prolonged floods inundated lakes, ponds and wetland where fishermen had invested on fish fries worth millions of takas. However, the onrush of the flood waters has washed away most of the water bodies affecting fishery industry of small farmers.

The fish-farmers expressed their worry about their future while there is a forecast that there might be a fresh spell of flood by the end of this month due to heavy rainfall in the upstream.

This year's three-phase flood has washed away fish worth Tk 23.40 lakh from 129 ponds in three upazilas of Rangpur. The highest damage was in Gangachara upazila of the district.

Fishermen said it is not possible for the affected fish-farmers to turn around without government incentives. Seasonal fish farmers who have invested on fishing with bank loans are most at risk.

According to the sources, 4.62 metric tons of fish from 48 small and large water bodies in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur district have been washed away in the floods. The value of which has been fixed by the Department of Fisheries (DoF) is at 7 lakh two thousand taka.

At the same time, infrastructural damage has been estimated at Tk 1 lakh 40 thousand. In all, the upazila has lost 8 lakh 6 thousand taka.

Similarly, 4.13 metric tons of fish from 43 small and large water bodies in Kaunia upazila has been washed away. In all, the loss is 7 lakh 9 thousand taka.

In Pirgachha upazila, 3.85 metric tons of fish from 38 small and large water bodies have been washed away. The total loss has been estimated at 6 lakh 90 thousand taka.

Hamidur Rahman, a fisherman of Pirgachha said, he along with other fishermen have incurred a huge amount of loss that is beyond their capacity to recover. He asked the fisheries department to provide loans to affected fishermen so that they can overcome their losses.

According to the district fisheries office, 12.6 metric tons of fish from 129 small and large water bodies in the district have been washed away by the floods. Its current market value is 23 lakh 40 thousand taka.

Rangpur District Fisheries Officer Barun Chandra Biswas confirmed the information and said, "We have determined the amount of damage and sent it to the concerned department."

However, according to Sunamganj District Fisheries Office’s information, 8,665 small and large water bodies in 11 upazilas have been washed away by flood and 6,464 fish farmers were affected. A total 2,984 tons of fish have been washed away from these ponds. The banks of these ponds have also been severely damaged. In all, the loss in this sector is about 52 crore 92 lakh 88 thousand taka.

In Gaibandha, fish worth Tk4.39 crore in 943 small and large water bodies have been washed away by the flood that hit the district thrice in the last two months, according to the District Fisheries Office’s information.

Around 677 fishermen suffered loss after losing their investment in the flood and infrastructures worth Tk 17 lakh or more have been damaged, said the district’s fisheries office sources.

In this regard, Gaibandha District Fisheries Officer Abdud Dayan said, “The amount of loss to the fish farmers has been determined and sent to the concerned ministry through the Deputy Commissioner. If allotted, the affected fish farmers will be assisted.”

In the mean time, water in the flood-hit areas of the country has been receding as water level in the rivers in most of the areas began falling in the last 24 hours ending Friday morning.

Bangladesh Water Development Board’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre executive engineer Md Arifuzzaman Bhuyan told Bangladesh Post that there was no flood in the country right now.

The forecast said that the Ganges-Padma river is in a falling trend, which may continue falling in the next 48 hours. It said and added that the rivers of the upper Meghna basin in the North-Eastern region of the country were in a falling trend except for the Kushiyara and Someswari and the rivers of the upper Meghna basin might fall in the next 24 hours.