Open water bodies see rise in fish population
Refraining from catching fish, during months of social distancing measures due to Covid-19, has turned out to be beneficial for fishers in the region after all.
Many of the fishers said they have been getting good catch of local fish in open water bodies lately.
"We are getting good catch than the previous years. Now my income from fish sale is good enough to support my five-member family," said Sekandar Ali, a fisher from Bonpolashia village in Mymensingh's Tarakanda upazila.
"Every day, I can earn Tk 500 to Tk 600 from catching fish, which I sell to local buyers," said the man who catches fish at Aaila Beel in the area.
Barek Mia, another fisherman from the same village, said, "While the country is still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the fishermen in the area are providing for their families with the good catch of fish since last month."
There are several water bodies -- including Chaira, Dhali, Kunuira and Rangsa -- in Tarakanda and Phulpur upazilas and livelihoods of 150 families, living in Polashia, Kamaria, Kadomtola, Faridpur and Fatehpur villages, depend on catching fish in those water bodies, he also said.
Fish trader Shaheed Mia, from Polashia village, said there are 20 fish traders in the area and all are enjoying good business that resulted from the recent good catch of fish in local water bodies. "On an average, I can collect 15 kilograms of fish each day and make a profit of Tk 700 to Tk 800, excluding my expenses."
Abdul Motaleb and Habi Mia, two other fish traders from the area, also shared similar experience.
Explaining the probable reason for the good catch of local fish, Dilip Kumar Saha, fisheries officer in Mymensingh, said as there was a lockdown enforced during this breeding season, general public in villages did not catch fish in the open water bodies, fearing contraction of the virus.
This might have come as a blessing for the rise local fish population in the water bodies.
Releasing of various carp fish -- left unsold at seven government hatcheries in the district -- in the open water bodies might also contributed to the increase in the fish population.
Moreover, "we are also conducting drives with mobile courts to remove illegal structures in the open water bodies so the channels remain open for movement of fish."
These steps might have helped the increase in fish population in 250 open water bodies in the district, the official added.
In Trishal upazila of Mymensingh, there are 3,309 fishers who live on catching fish in the open water bodies and their number will be around 50,000 in the district, said Tofael Ahmed, senior fisheries officer in Trishal.