Bangladesh globally ranks third in fish farming

Bangladesh moves two notches up in fish farming and ranks third in freshwater fish production

Prothom Alo

Bangladesh has retained the third place in producing freshwater fish this time as well.

And in fish farming, Bangladesh has risen to the third position moving two notches up. Bangladesh held the fifth position in fish farming for six years.

Such information came up in ‘The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture-2022’ global report of United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report, prepared with the records of fish produced in every country of the world in 2020, has been published on Monday.

Earlier, a report was published in 2020 last after preparing with the records of fish produced in every country of the world in 2019.

It was stated in the report that Bangladesh had a production of 440,000 tonnes of freshwater fish in 1980. That has risen up to 1.25 million tonnes in 2020, which consists 11 per cent of the total fish production of the world.

India and China are ahead of Bangladesh. India produces 1.8 million tonnes of freshwater fish while China produces 1.6 million tonnes. Bangladesh is trailed by Myanmar, Uganda and Indonesia.

However, Bangladesh ranks 25th in marine fish production among top 25 countries of the world. Compared to last year, country’s marine fish production has increased by 100,000 tonnes and stands at 670,000 tonnes now. China, Indonesia and Peru are the top three countries in marine fish production.

The report stated, Egypt in Africa with Bangladesh and Vietnam in Asia has become an example in fish farming. More than 50 per cent of the animal protein-requirement of the people in these countries are being met with fish.

When asked, former teacher of Bangladesh Agricultural University Abdul Wahab told Prothom Alo the increase in hilsa production has contributed greatly in increasing freshwater fish production in Bangladesh.

Due to preserving Jatka (young hilsa), production of many types of river fish including Pangas (yellowtail catfish) and Ari (giant river catfish) is going up as well. However, we have to emphasise on increasing marine fish acquirement to increase our fish production even further.

Fish experts are saying, production of freshwater fish in the inland water bodies has increased basically for the sake of Hilsa. The production of this national fish has increased more than twice and passed 500,000 tonnes in the last 12 years. The country is number one in Hilsa production. Bangladesh produces 80 per cent of the total Hilsa.

Experts are giving the credits to local scientists for increasing the production by inventing improved varieties of cultivable local fish species.

Several reports from FAO and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) have said, there have been revolutionary changes in fish farming through pond culture in the country.

Fisheries and livestock minister SM Rezaul Karim told Prothom Alo, “We are putting emphasis on increasing local fish farming in ponds.”

“For this, arrangements are being put in place to make local fish species suitable for pond farming by preserving them in the Fisheries Research Institute. But we must emphasise on fish production in the Bay of Bengal,” he added.

Scientists of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute have said that country's scientists have so far developed improved breeds of Rui, Katla, Koi, Tilapia, Kalibaush and Sarpunti fish.

More than half of the fish being cultivated in country's ponds are of these varieties. They have also invented farming methods for 22 almost-extinct fish species of the country. That list includes nutritious fish like Tengra, Pabda and Mola fish.

A report from IFPRI had said that 56 per cent of fish in Bangladesh is actually coming from ponds. Fish farming in pond has increased the production almost six times in the last three decades.

About 20 million people in the country are involved with fish farming and trade. In 1990, annual per capita fish consumption was about 7.5 kg. Now it has reached 30 kg.