Due to water and environment pollution, many species of fish in Kaptai lake have become extinct
By Zeba Tarannum
Kaptai Lake is the largest artificial reservoir in Southeast Asia. Which is known as the only freshwater fish treasure in Bangladesh. It is located in the Rangamati Hill District. This lake is called the diversity of fish species and rich water reservoir.
According to the information of Fisheries Research Institute, in 1974 at Kaptai Lake there were 76 species of freshwater fish including two species of Shrimp, one species of Dolphin, two species of turtles. Among them, there were 68 species of native fish and eight species of foreign fish.
It was also exported abroad after meeting the demand of the country. But due to lack of dredging, depth reduction, water and environmental pollution, many species of fish in the lake have become extinct. It has gradually reduced to 42 species. Despite all this, 35 species of fish are still being extracted commercially from Rangamati Lake.
These fish are being sold commercially in different parts of the country, including Chattagram-Dhaka after meeting the local demand. The fishes like Salmon, Carp, Kali Baush, Kachki, Chapila, Ayre, Wallago, Great snakehead, Snakehead mural, Walking Catfish, Stinging catfish, Anabas, Tilapia, Bacha, Grass carp, Silver carp, Carpio, Java barb, Nila tilapia, Thai Mahseer, African sharptooth catfish, Sutchi catfish, Chitala, Sea-dog, native java bard, Broad-mouthed mullet, Freshwater garfish, Yellowtail catfish, Mrigal carp, Spotted Snakehead, Sind danio, Zig-zag eel, Bronze featherback, Tyangra, Jamuna ailia, boggut Labeo, Swamp barb are now available in Kaptai Lake.
The Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC) says about 5,160.68 metric tonnes of fish were extracted from Rangamati Kaptai Lake this year. And the revenue collection is about Tk.75 million, which is much more than last year.
If fish production continues in this way, this year’s revenue will break all records: twenty-two thousand fishermen’s life and livelihood of the region involved in this fish. To ensure proper breeding and production of fish in the lake, every year a ban on fishing in Kaptai Lake is imposed from May 1 to July. During the off-season, a large quantity of minnow is released in the lake at the initiative of the Rangamati Fisheries Development Department. After these fish grow up, fishing starts again.
Azhar Ali, Scientific Officer of Rangamati district, said Rangamati Lake had not dredged for many years due to which the natural breeding of fish is under threat. Because the natural breeding ground of fish like Salmon are Mainimukh on Kasalong channel, Jagannathchari on Barkal channel, Naniachar on Changi channel and Bilaichari on Raikong channel.
Fish used to breed properly in the channels of these four rivers. But at present, the natural reproduction of fish has stopped due to siltation of Mainimukh in Kasalong Channel and Raikong Channel. Although currently, two channels are normal, if the Kaptai Lake not dredge quickly, it can also destroy.
Md. Touhidul Islam, Manager of Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC) Lake Fisheries Development and Marketing Center, Rangamati, said the resources of Kaptai Lake are huge and attractive. But due to lack of proper use, the resources of this lake can’t enrich further.
However, BFDC has set up a Billa hatchery at Marissha Char in Rangamati. In this hatchery, the minnow is being produced by natural breeding of fish. Specially carp fry. Many fish farmers have started fish farming by collecting minnow from the hatchery. Many have benefited. Moreover, if the minnow produced by this hatchery appropriately use, it may be possible to make up for the shortage of fish in Kaptai Lake.
Incidentally, the government gave the responsibility of managing the largest artificial lake to the BFDC because of Kaptai Dam in 1960 to turn it into a reservoir of fisheries resources. Then since the1964 fishing from the lake on commercial basis begins. Besides, during the season there is a ban on hunting fry up to 9 inches at Rangamati Kaptai Lake.