FARIDPUR, Mar 12: Cultivation of freshwater fish is increasing in Shariatpur district. At present, about 17,000 people are involved in fish production in the district.
According to sources in the fisheries office, there are 15,182 ponds and farms (27,025 hectares of land) in district for the production of freshwater fishes.
A good number of farmers said pangas, ruhi, tilapia, shrimp and different carp varities are cultivated in ponds and farms. The fish produced are sold throughout the year in different hats and markets.
Chandpur is a major fish market. Buyers from Chandpur buy fishes from here and sell in various places in Sylhet and Chittagong region. They said weather is suitable for fish farming in the district.
Jayanta Das of Bhojeshwara village of Nariya upazila of Shariatpur said he has a fish production farm. He started the business around five years ago.
Jayanta Das said he had incurred heavy loss from hilsa business. Later he came to the village and rented unused land and made a fish farm. The money started coming from the second year of the fish production.
"Now I am making a healthy profit from the business", he added.
Some fish farm owners said the cost of cultivating carp fishes in one acre of land is around Tk 0.25 million a year. The cost of renting the farm land is Tk 50,000 per acre.
Farmers can earn around Tk 0.3 million to Tk 0.4 million per acre from the production of minnow excluding all costs.
Delwar Hossain of Chhagaon village under Vedarganj upazila said, "I have rented 25 acres of land and I have made a fish farm. I am producing ruhi, katal and other carp fishes in the farm. After paying land rent, workers' wages and other expenses I am earning Tk 1.0 million to Tk 1.2 million per year. "
According to sources of the district fisheries office, around 16,041 tonnes of freshwater fish were produced in the district in 2015. It quickly increased to 18,354 tonmes in a year in 2016. Later, production was 19,134 tonnes in 2017, 19,170 tonnes in 2018 and 19,305 tonnes in 2019.
District Fisheries Survey Officer Abul Khair Pradhan said, "Our main objetive is to boost fish production. Due to the demand and good prices in the market, the fish farmers in the district are interested in cultivating fishes in ponds and farms."
Deputy Commissioner Kazi Abu Taher said fish production has been increasing in the farms and people can purchase it at a fair price. Pond-farm owners are trained by the Department of Youth Development, Fisheries Department and District Administration for the cultivation of fishes applying modern and scientific methods, he added.