Thursday, July 2, 2020 | ePaper

Save local fish species and biodiversity

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INDISCRIMINATE catching of fish fry in the haors of Sylhet region, including the protected Tanguar haor in Sunamganj has been posing a serious threat to the area's ecosystem. Due to this illegal practice, many local breeds are becoming extinct. Experts said some fishermen and locals are involved in this illegal fishing, which starts in the first week of April and continues for several months.
Tanguar haor located in the Dharmapasha and Tahirpur upazilas is a unique wetland ecosystem of national importance and has come into international focus. The area of Tanguar haor including 46 villages within the haor is about 100 square kilometres. It is the source of livelihood for more than 40,000 people. The government declared Tanguar haor as an Ecologically Critical Area in 1999 considering its critical condition as a result of overexploitation of its natural resources.
Many people catch fish fry illegally from the haor using banned fishing nets. Local fish species like taki, shoal, gozar, ayer and many others hatch eggs during April-May. As there is an embankment to protect paddy, the water level is low and that allows locals to catch fish fry. Experts asked complete two-month ban on catching and selling fish fry. Also, those fishermen who catch fish from haors due to financial crisis should be given incentives. According to rule-7 of the "Protection and Conservation of Fish Rules 1985", catching or destroying fry of shoal, gozar and taki in any kind of waterbody is strictly prohibited from April 1 to August 31.
The government is planning to open a portion of the levee so that river water can enter the haor, which will raise the water level and eventually help reduce the illegal activities. Enforcing the law is important but the situation cannot be controlled by the administration alone. Awareness among fishermen and locals is a must in this regard. During the pandemic time, the government should provide stimulus package and relief for the fishermen thus they will refrain off catching fish fry.

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