Bumper fish catches at Kaptai Lake | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 04, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 04, 2008

Bumper fish catches at Kaptai Lake

As winter approaches, seagulls have started arriving on the bank of river Karnaphuli this year. The birds remain busy in flying on the bank, shoal and the river. City people rush to the bank of river to enjoy the scene every afternoon. The photo was taken from Firingibazar area on Sunday. Photo: Zobaer Hossain Sikder

Fish production at Kaptai Lake has increased remarkably in recent time following steps to stop smuggling, regular raids against use of current nets, strict enforcement of the ban on fishing during May-August and release of more fish fry in the lake.
Besides, Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC) has declared the DC Banglo areas as fish sanctuary for boosting fish production.
On an average about 8,000 metric tons (MT) of different species of fish, except the local consumption, worth over Tk 70 crore are being produced annually in the lake. The annual local consumption is around 3,000MT.
But the lake saw a bumper production of 10,000MT of fish worth about Tk 100 crore during 2007-2008 fiscal and the government earned revenue of Tk 4 crore, sources at the BFDC said.
They said the government earned about Tk 3.50 crore as revenue when production was 8,000 MT in the previous fiscal (2006-2007).
Large variety of species of fishes are found in the lake, of which Ruhi, Katla, Mrigel, Telapia, Mahal, Bara Chhitol, Boal, Mohashoyl, Gojar, Poya, Tengra, Aair, Kajali, Pati Pabda, Kalibous, Sadaghonia, Kalighonia, Faisya, Bacha, Mola, Chapila and Kechki are prominent. Of 71 species of fish, only 36 species could be collected in the lake.
The production, however, of some large species like Ruhi, Katla and Mrighel has reduced unexpectedly during the last few years due to destruction of natural breeding ground, diversion of water flows, use of current nets, netting fries and inadequate water level, BFDC sources said.
About 15 to 20MT of fishes are collected a day when royalty (revenue) of large fish is Tk 25 per kg, medium category Tk 12 to 22 and small ones only Tk 8.
A kg of large fish such as Ruhi, Katla, Mrigal and Mahal is sold at Tk 200 to 250, Kalighonia Tk 120 to 150, Chhitol Tk 300, Bacha Tk 200, Aair Tk 90, Pholi Tk 120, Tengra Tk 150, Kalibaus Tk 200, Telapia Tk 190 to 120, Kajali Tk 120, Shoal Tk 110, Boal Tk 150, Gojar Tk 80, Chapila Tk 70 and Kechki Tk 60 at local markets.
There are fish sanctuaries at Longudu, District Fishery Ghat and Banarupa in Rangamati town, five check posts, an ice factory and five fish landing ghats under the BFDC.
Some 60 traders are involved with fish trading in the lake.
Sources said though 500 people are enlisted with BFDC as professional fishermen the number of fishermen in the lake will be much higher. About 5,000 to 6,000 people living on the banks of the lake are directly or indirectly earned their livelihood from fishing, they said.
After meeting local demand in three hill districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari, fishes of the lake are marketed to other parts of country, including Chittagong and Dhaka. Besides, large quantities of fish are also exported.
Kaptai Hrad Motso Babsayee Samity Secretary Harun Ur Rashid said he is involved with fish trading for 28 years. The unregistered fishermen used to catch the fish fries immediately after their release by BFDC during the ban-period for lack of proper monitoring, he said, adding that this practice ultimately hampered the production.
Murad Khandaker, a fish trader of Kutun Enterprise in Chittagong, said he supplies fish to different factories and companies, including Seamark, Beximco Pharma, Apex, Meghna, Costal and Minhar who export those to Middle Eastern and European countries.
Azad Rahman of BFDC said they will launch a programme soon with all concerned including fishermen, local community and fish traders to build awareness among the mass people about ban period (MAY-August) when catching fish fries is prohibited.
Kazi Nazrul Islam, president of Rangamati Chamber of Commerce and Industries (RCCI) also a member of Kaptai Lake Control Committee (KLCC), said the government should hand over the lake to private sector to boost fish production.
Rangamati Hill District Council Chairman Jagat Jyoti Chakma said fish production will be much higher if the lake is given to the district council.

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