Unknown disease wreaks havoc in Satkhira shrimp enclosures
Cultivation of shrimp, one of the country's major export items, faces a serious setback this season as an 'unknown disease' has wreaked havoc in shrimp enclosures in coastal Satkhira district that sees nearly half of the country's total shrimp production.
As shrimps are dying within four days of attack === with the disease, many panic-gripped farmers are selling small-sized shrimp at cheap rates while many others are selling their enclosures to avoid heavy losses before end of the shrimp cultivation season, sources said.
Local farmers have termed the disease as 'viral infection' while Assassuni upazila fisheries officer Sirajul Islam said the case is quite different.
The massive death of shrimp results from severe heat and farmers' failure to take necessary precautionary measures before starting cultivation, he said.
The setback in shrimp production is likely to cause sharp fall in its export as farmers are losing interest in shrimp cultivation.
During the last two months, shrimp worth Tk 75 crore has been affected by the disease that continues spreading in the shrimp enclosures of the district, local farmers said.
This season there are 19,613 shrimp enclosures covering 57,703 hectares of land in seven upazilas of Satkhira district, said sources at district fisheries department.
Nineteen hundred and seventy of the enclosures (covering 3,844 hectares of land) are in Sadar upazila, 844 enclosures (covering 3,955 hectares of land) are in Tala, 2,709 enclosures (9907 hectares) in Debhata, 5,723 enclosures (11,478 hectares) in Kaliganj, 3,400 enclosures (13,759 hectares) in Assassuni, 5,064 enclosures (15,500 hectares) in Shyamnagar and 32 enclosures (60 hectares of land) are in Kalaroa upazila.
"Shrimp production target has not been achieved due to the viral infection in shrimp enclosures. About 45 percent of enclosures have been affected due to attack with the disease and by this time shrimp worth Tk 75 crore died," ABM Mustakim, a shrimp farmer in Assassuni upazila told this correspondent.
"Shrimps are dying from an unknown disease in the enclosures. Most of the farmers have incurred heavy losses this season as lease money, prices of shrimp fry and other inputs and salaries of staffs have increased greatly. So many shrimp farmers are now thinking of leaving the profession," said Dr Aftabuzzaman, president of Satkhira district shrimp farmers association.
On contact, Assassuni Upazila Fisheries Officer Sirajul Islam said, "It is not a viral disease. Shrimps are dying due to severe heat, lack of adequate water, and environmental hazards in the shrimp enclosures. Farmers did not dry the mud properly and use lime proportionately to kill the bacteria during preparation of their enclosures to start the farming."
As farmers preserve water one foot to one and a half feet in their enclosures during February-April, a kind of weed grows and ammonium nitrate is formed in the water when the weed begins to rot and consequently, shrimps die, he added.
He suggested that the farmers apply proper method including supply of formulated feed, change of the water and circulate the wind regularly in the shrimp enclosures and not to reserve additional shrimp fry there.