Ahmed Ishtiaq and Fuad-Ur-Rabbi: The country’s fish production has nearly doubled over the last decade—thanks to popularity of fish farming. According to data of Bangladesh Department of Fisheries, farmed fish production was 2 million tonnes in 2013-14. This was only 0.8 million tonnes back in 2001-02.
Consequently, the overall fish production increased spectacularly by around 88 percent during this period. This is great news for the nation as fish accounts for about 56 percent of Bangladesh’s intake of animal protein.
According to fisheries department, the country produced about 3.5 million tonnes of fish in the 2013-14. Of this, 2.9 million tonnes came from farms and catches from various Inland water sources, and 0.6 million tonnes were from the sea.
A decade back the total fish production stood at 1.9 million tonnes—majority of it came from various inland water sources.
This rise in fish culture is due to increase in high quality fish feed and seed production, and widespread induced breeding technology, the department says. Another reason that boosted fish production is the Jatka Conservation project that imposed a ban on Hilsa fishing.
The most dominant source of fresh water fish in the country is the several thousand ponds in the villages, comprising of about 0.4 million hectare area that produce half of the Inland water fish. One quarter fish comes from flood plains.
Water area for Inland fisheries comprises of approximately 4.7 million hectares across the country. Dhaka division tops fish production with claiming 28 percent of the stake; followed by Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi ranging between 13 percent and 20 percent. Rangpur contributes the least with just 5 percent production.
As per the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), global fish production was 158 million tonnes in 2012 and per capita fish consumption was 19.2 kg.
Annual consumption of fish and fish products in Bangladesh was 12 kg/per person in 2010, with Chittagong hav-ing highest annual consumption of about 17 kg/per person.
In Bangladesh, about three fourth of consumed fish are fresh water fish, among which Pangas, Rui, and Tilapi tops our chart.
Pangas farming has become an established agro-processing industry in the country over the last decade. Pangas is most easy to produce due to its short culture-cycle, high growth rate and unselective feeding habit. It also has good resistance to diseases. These characteristics are somewhat also present in Tilapia.
Export of fish and fish products increased by 86 percent from 2001-02 and reached 77,000 tonnes in 2013-14.
Although, the country’s exports reached its peak of about 96,000 tonnes in the fiscal year 2010-11, it declined in the recent years. One of the reasons behind the decline can be ascribed to the ban on Hilsa export, set to ensure the country was not deprived of the delicacy.
According to the latest FAO report, The state of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2014, Bangladesh continues to be the fourth largest fish producer in the world for Inland waters fish capture.
FAO predicts Bangladesh to be the first of the four countries, followed by Thailand, India, and China, to experience the highest growth rate in terms of fish production by the year 2022.