Shrimp industry in southern region faces setback

MD Srabon, Mongla

Shrimp industries in the Southern region of the country including those at Mongla and Begerhat are facing severe loss for various reasons. 

Famed as White Gold, the Shrimp industries in the southern and western region of the country incurred a loss of Taka 284 crore (2,840 million) during recent months.  

Impact of Coronavirus, climatic condition and recurrent natural disasters have been identified as the main causes of the loss. Millions of shrimp rearers (farmers), traders and labourers were facing a hard time due to the prevailing crisis. 

It is learnt, several million people of the Southern region of Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts have been engaged in Shrimp cultivation (rearing) commercially from the 80's decade. 

The Shrimp cultivation being profitable, the number of shrimp cultivators and production of shrimp increased gradually in the region. Even, the government earned a huge amount of revenue from the shrimp sector. 

According to sources, there are 78,685 ghers of Bagda and Golda shrimps on 66,710 hectares of land in Bagerhat district. In 2018-'19 fiscal year, a total of 16,575 metric tonnes of Bagda and 15,413 metric tonnes of Golda shrimps were produced in those ghers. 

Shrimp cultivators and traders informed, due to inclement weather, shrimp worth Taka 50 crore (500 million) destroyed at a night of October-2019. Several days afterwards, Cyclone Bulbul further destroyed the shrimp ghers. And, later on, the export of shrimp stopped due to Coronavirus impact which incurred the farmers and traders a huge loss. 

Shrimp farmer Fakhrul Islam informed, he used to earn his livelihood through shrimp cultiva tion but this year the sale of Shrimp remained suspended due to Coronavirus impact. He added, he does not know what will happen to them in future. 

Shrimp trader Liton Pramanik informed, the export of shrimp remained suspended due to impact of Coronavirus. There was no sufficient customers of Shrimp in local markets as well. As result, they are a sort of unemployed. He mentioned, they will have to starve unless the Corona situation improves locally and globally soon. 

Fakir Mohitul Islam Sumon, President of Shrimp Traders' Association of Bagerhat district informed, the production of shrimp has decreased 10 to 15 percent due to inclement weather and natural disasters during last two years. The Coronavirus and Cyclone Amphan have so far caused a loss of Taka 100 crore to the shrimp farmers and traders.  

He added, in the ghers of Bagarhat district, fry of Bagda worth Taka 300 crore and fry of Golda worth Taka two crore is required but due to adverse natural condition owners of those ghers were facing an acute scarcity of the fry. 

Dr. Khaled Kanak, District Fisheries Officer of Bagerhat informed, due the devastating Cyclone Amphan has washed away 4,635 fishing gears in the district. He suggested the shrimp farmers to adopt modern method of shrimp farming by discarding the conventional method. He also suggests to bring shrimp farmers under insurance and a special loan facilities for shrimp farmers of Bagarhat, Khulana and Satkhira districts. 

Narayan Chandra Mondol, Deputy Director of Department of Fisheries of Khulna division informed, the total loss in the fishing sector of six districts of Khulna was Taka 284 crore due to adverse impact of Cyclone Amphan. Of the loss, fish worth Taka 64 crore, shrimp worth Taka 188 crore, fish and shrimp fries worth Taka 19 crore and Crab and Kutchia worth Taka 10 crore 94 lakh were destroyed.