April 19, 2024, 1:24 am

Fish crisis hits dried fish production in greater Chalan Beel

  • Update Time : Sunday, January 7, 2024
  • 49 Time View
Dried fish production goes on in a few places in Chalan Beel region due to lack of adequate fishes. The photo shows one of the few Chatals (yards), where workers are seen processing dried fish. PHOTO: THE DAILY SKY

SIRAJUL ISLAM SHISHIR:

Dried fish production in greater Chalan Beel is being seriously hampered this year due to shortage of fishes caused by random netting mother fishes during their breeding period.

Concern people apprehended that, the target of dried fish production in the Chalan Beel may not be achieved this year.

It is to be mentioned that, the greater Chalan Beel,located across the vast tract areas of Pabna, Sirajganj and Natore district, is known as fish assortment of the country. Large amount of sweet or fresh water fishes are supplied to different parts of the country including Dhaka from this Chalan Beel. It is also renowned as greater grain storage of the country. Dried fishes produced in Chalan Beel is also exported to different countries after fulfilling the local demand that keeps greater contribution in national economy, sources said.

Sources of the Department of Fisheries informed that, various species of native fishes are accumulated from Chalan Beel elaborated with 4500 hectares of wetlands in combination of 22 reservoirs and 16 rivers with a size of 120 square kilometers. This is also greater source of sweet water fishes in the country. Large portion of the population in the region live by fishing in the Beel for a special period since August to February of the year. During the dried season, most residents of the area including women are engaged in producing dried fishes applying native process at different Chatals (yards) after collecting them from several local markets including Mohisluti Bazar in Tarash upazila of Sirajganj district, Boalmari Bazar in Chatmohor upazila in Pabna district and Singra Bazar in Natore district. Various species of native fishes including Rui, Katla, Mrigal carp,Shoil, Boal (Wallago Attu), Khoilsa, Taki, Tengra, Puti, Koi, Shing, Magur, Rupchanda, Dankona, Rayna, Bele, Swarputi, small prawn, Bain, Chapila, Chelaputi and Chanda fishes are used to produce dried fishes. Later, those are supplied to different districts including Dhaka, Bogura, Syedpur, Nilphamari, Joypurhat, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Natore.After fulfilling the local demand, the dried fishes are also exported to around 25 countries of the world including India, Libya, Malaysia, Qatar,Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iraq, USA, Oman, Kuwaitand Indonesia.

During a spot visit to Chalan Beel area, this correspondent found that, dried fishes were produced at different Chatalsin a short range.

While talking, most dried fish producers said, the prices of fishes have doubled in the markets due to short production in the Beel. The measure of fishes has reduced in the Beel due to various reasons including uninterrupted fishing during their breeding time. Now the dried fish producers are facing crisis of fishes. If some fishes are found in local Bazars, traders face problem for their high prices. As a result, dried fish producers have reduced their production compared to the previous periods.

Suraj Mian, 45, owner of a dried fish producing Chatal and trader of Mohisluti Bazar said, “Fishermen are not getting expected amount of fishes from Chalan Beel this time due to a negative impact of less rainfall in the monsoon. Consequently, the fish price has gone up compared to the previous time. Many dried fish producers are compelled to return homes from Bazar with empty handed due to high prices of fishes. They can’t produce dried fishes in their Chatal.”

Roman Hawlader, a fisherman of Chalan Beel said, “Many Chatals have been lying idle due to lack of works. The Chatal owners can’t procure fishes from local markets or even from fishermen. They are in fear of incurring losses this year.”

Kohinur Begum, 40, and Ramicha Khatun, 35, who work in a Chatal said, “We work in the Chatal for four to five months each year. We get Tk 200 to Tk 300 per head daily. But now, we are passing days without work due to short supply of fishes.”

Shahinur Rahman, DFO in Sirajganj said, “About 302 tonnes of dried fishes were produced in Sirajganj last year. But this year, we did not fix any target of dried fish production so far due to less appearance of fishes in the markets. Besides, many dried fish producers now show disinterest to produce dried fishes due to lack of preservation center in the region. If there were preservation center, fishermen or dried fish producers would able to protect their fishes from damage.”

“We however have been providing training to the concern people in which they can produce dried fishes in a safe and hygienic process. We are also discouraging them to use toxic DDT powder with dried fishes for the sake of consumers’ health,” he added.

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