If such fish sanctuaries are set up all over the country, it will be possible to bring back lost fish species, said an expert
Aimed at providing safe havens and breeding grounds for endangered native fish species, the two fish sanctuaries recently built in Ratargul Swamp Forest area are starting to show promise of bringing back lost fish species once found abundantly in local waters.
Owing to the successful water management system in the fish sanctuaries, endangered fish species, including Pabda, Mala, Dhela, Boal, Chital, Ghora, Khari and Nanad fish, are now available in the Shari-Goyain River.
Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU) in collaboration with Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) undertook the project in July 2018 and set up the fish sanctuaries on three acres at two locations at Ratargul Swamp Forest and its Gurokachi canal.
The fruits of the five-year research program have already begun to show, said Prof Mrityunjoy Kundu, head, Aquatic Resource Management department at SAU.
He says there has been a sharp rise in the population of micro-nutrients rich Mala and Dhela as a result of the pen method of breeding.
He also said the forest department, local administration, police and fisheries department were cooperating with them in this regard.
“If such kinds of fish sanctuaries are set up all over the country, it will be possible to bring back lost fish species,” he also added.
Prof Faisal Ahmed, dean of the school of social sciences at SUST, said the project was aimed at breeding fish, meeting human nutritional needs, changing socio-economic conditions and improving water quality.
The professor added: “Prior to the project, fish were dying in the Shari-Goyain River, being heavily polluted with coal mineral composition when flowing from the hilly regions of Meghalaya State of India into Sylhet.
Sylhet Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Md Sajjad Hossain said SAU and SUST were being provided with all possible assistance by the forest department in their research on native species of fish in Ratargul.
Arab Ali, a fisherman from Ratargul, said that since the launch of the project, farmers had been able to catch huge quantities of native fish from the surrounding beels and haors. Now the price of fish is also at a reasonable level. The sheer number of fish found this year has made it difficult for local fishermen to sell them. However, no one has been complaining.