Illegal netting of shrimp fry from Feni River rampant
Using banned net destroying other fish varieties
FENI, June 11: Illegal netting of shrimp fry from the Feni River at Sonagazi Upazila of the district is rampant, and the way it is netted is destroying other fish varieties and aquatic animals.
While visiting different places in the river, this correspondent found that the fishermen are netting shrimp fry with banned net and selling those to local traders. Later, the traders are selling the fry at double price to the owners of shrimp hatcheries in Khulna, Bagerhat, Jashore and other districts.
During the months of April to July every year, shrimp fry is netted on both sides of Muhuri regulator of Feni River, Char Khandakar, Jele Para under Sonagazi Sadar Union, Sujapur, Small Sluice Gate, Bhangaberi, and many other places. While netting the fry, the fishermen damage the other fishes.
Every day lakhs of shrimp fry are netted from the irrigation project area near the Feni River to Ichhakhali of Mirsarai Upazila in Chattogram District. The fry are also bought from Kazir Haat Sluice Gate of the Chhota Feni River to Sandwip Channel on the south.
Thousands of people of Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat districts and Sonagazi Upazila of Feni District run their livelihood by procuring the shrimp fry.
Children, elderly person and fishermen net shrimp fry. They dump the other fries after buying the shrimp fry.
A number of illegal tin-shed houses have been built on the bank of the river for buying fry.
The shrimp fry are collected from the Feni River and sent to shrimp hatcheries in Dhaka, Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts.
Lakhs of shrimp fry are collected only from Sonagazi Upazila and supplied to greater Dhaka and Khulna regions.
This correspondent spoke to some fishermen at Muhuri Project area of Feni.
Fisherman Jahidul Islam said, "I came from Paikgachha Upazila of Khulna District to procure shrimp fry. I purchase the fry from traders in Feni and sell at Tk 0.50 per piece."
Amzad Hossain of Ashashuni Upazila in Satkhira District said he comes to Feni to procure shrimp fry every year and sells those in his area.
Zakir Hossain of the same area said they net all other varieties of fry, but keeping only the shrimp fry, they dump the other fry.
Trader Abbas Hossain said while netting shrimp fry, other types of fry are also netted. After buying only the shrimp fry, he dumps the other varieties.
He said that they can sell only the shrimp fry at fair price. They don't suffer much if the fry of the other varieties get ruined.
The fishermen said that they are destroying the other varieties of fish helplessly. They procure the shrimp fry as they do not have any other jobs to do.
They said that hatchery owners of Khulna, Bagerhat and Jashore districts collect shrimp fry from the wholesalers of Sonagazi and Mirsarai areas.
The wholesalers collect fry from the fishermen. They get fixed commission. At the beginning stage, each fry is sold at Tk 0.50, but the price rises to Tk 3 while it is transported to Khulna.
Locals said earlier many fishes were found in the area. For procuring shrimp fry in this process, many fish are destroyed. They do not get fish like before.
Locals demanded barring the shrimp fry procurement in this method. Many alleged that they are collecting the illegal fry managing the local administration.
District Fisheries Officer Md Sharif Uddin said they are investigating the matter.
He said this method of collecting fish fry is illegal. If it continues, the involved persons will be brought under the law.
He further said that they will run drive and bring the involved persons under Fisheries Preservation Act.
He further said the procurement of shrimp fry is causing damage to hilsa fish. This is also damaging thousands of aquatic animals. To get rid of this, mass awareness and alternative employment of the fishermen are necessary.
Vice-Chancellor of Feni University Prof Dr Md Saifuddin Shah said netting of shrimp fry is banned for the last few years. Yet, they cannot stop the poor fishermen in coastal areas. They are netting the shrimp fry illegally. This tendency has risen after closure of artificial shrimp fry production in hatcheries. Now, the hatchery owners are depending on the natural shrimp fry to reproduce Galda shrimp. By this the natural fish resources are coming under threat.
In a survey, it was found that 463 other varieties of fish fry are being destroyed while netting Galda or Bagda shrimp.
If it is not controlled strictly, the rivers of the country will lose fishes. If it is controlled the fish resources will rise.