A newly built hatchery in Rajshahi city has created high hope among the commercially freshwater prawn farmers relating to furthermore expansion of the lucrative prawn farming in the region.
For the first time, the state-owned hatchery has gone into operation this year producing around three lakh larvae, said Dr Jinnat Ara Rokeya Chowdhury, manager of Fish Seed Multiplication Farm.
She said mother shrimps were collected from the Kocha River in Pirojpur district on May 23 last. Subsequently, those were disinfected and nursed in brine collected from the coastal belt.
During the entire nursing period, bio-security has been maintained strictly as it’s very important for post-larvae production from larval stage.
“We got the huge larvae from May 25 to 29 in phases through maintaining balanced food, temperature, aeration and suitable water quality stringently,” Dr Jinnat said, adding that around 30 per cent survival rate has been attained in this initiation year.
Around one lakh post-larvae were supplied among farmers in different districts under Rajshahi division this year.
Continuously, post larva will be produced here though bringing parents from the saline rivers every breeding season. Farmers can purchase healthy and quality hatchlings from here at a reasonable price. As a whole, the hatchery will contribute a lot towards fulfilling the farmers demand.
She mentioned that fluctuation of temperature, bio-security, water hardness and disruption of power supply are the major challenges to substantial reduction of mortality rate.
Farm Manager Dr Rokeya, however, expected that an adequate number of healthy post-larvae could be supplied among the farmers through facing the existing challenges within the next couple of years.
Earlier, the Department of Fisheries (DoF) has constructed the modern prawn breeding hatchery at the compound of 3.29-hectare Fish Seed Multiplication Farm in 2016-17 fiscal year at a cost of around Taka 74.96 lakh with the main thrust of making the farming more popular through removing the existing prawn seedlings and spawn scarcity.
Meanwhile, commercial farming of freshwater prawn has been gaining popularity in the region amid lucrative market price and gradually rising consumers’ demands. Large numbers of farmers are seen farming freshwater prawn in nursery ponds and water tanks to change their lot.
Matiur Rahman, a farmer of Bonpara village under Boraigram upazila in Natore district, said he started freshwater prawn farming in 2010 and attained success. This year, he has cultivated prawn in a 65-decimal pond.
“I collect post-larva and nurse those in the pond. After 40 days, they become juvenile and I sell those at Tk 25 to 30 per piece to the local farmers who cultivate those in carp fish farming ponds,” said Rahman.
Abdus Sobhan, another farmer of Kathalbaria village under Paba upazila, said many farmers collect juvenile prawn from him. Within six months, each of those weights becomes 120 to 125 grams. In local markets, prawn is now being sold at Taka 700 to 750 per kilogram, he revealed.
Farmer Shihab Uddin of Shilinda area said prawn farming is gaining popularity but supply of post-larva is inadequate.
He said steps should be taken to reduce the price of prawn seed and quality feed. Existing hatchery’s prawn production should be increased through providing technicians.
Uddin, however, expected that the newly launched hatchery will help to remove their existing problems of collecting and nursing seedlings. “We are getting locally harvested prawn for our business purposes,” said Shaheen Ahmed, manager of Chili’s Chinese Restaurant in the city, adding that consumers demand is increasing day by day.
“The DoF is intended to expand prawn farming in freshwater bodies through transferring and disseminating updated technologies to the grassroots farmers. Demands of hatchlings and fingerlings will be met up through successful implementation of the projects,” said DoF Divisional Director Tofaz Uddin.
In addition to farmers’ motivation, the department has set up projection ponds. The farmers should cultivate shrimp using modern shrimp farming method as it is a very profitable fish farming sector, he added, reports BSS.