The prospect of freshwater shrimp farming in mixed culture method with some major carp fishes commercially is very bright in the region, officials said.
“We are seeing a glittering prospect of shrimp farming with some major carps like Rui, katla and silver carp in the region,” said Dr Amimul Ehsan, District Fisheries Officer, Chapainawabganj, adding they are planning of developing a demonstration plot of prawn this year.
He clarified that both water and soil quality in the region including major parts of the Barind tract is suitable for the prawn farming and that will surely bring a diversity in the fish farming process.
There are enormous prospects of boosting farmers’ income, employment generation, poverty reduction and protein security through cherished expansion of shrimp farming in the region, Dr Ehsan added.
Yousuf Ali, a farmer of Nandipara village under Puthiya Upazila, said he started freshwater prawn farming in 2010 and attained successes in this field too.
Yousuf obtained a national award in 2015. This year, he has cultivated prawn in 65 ponds.
He had collected post-larva at Taka two per piece from fish hatchery in Natore and nurtured those in a nursing pond. After 40 days, they become juvenile and I sell those at Taka 22 to 25 per piece to the local farmers who cultivate those in carp fish farming ponds.
Another spawn farmer of Kornoher village under Paba Upazila, Shahidul Islam, said many farmers collect juvenile prawn from him. Within six months, each of those weights becomes 120 to 125 grams. In local markets, prawn is now being sold at Taka 700 to 750 per kilogram, he revealed.
Farmer Shafiul Alam said prawn farming is gaining popularity but supply of spawn is inadequate. Government patronization is needed in this regard for furthermore expansion of the potential farming, he said.
Meanwhile, a newly built hatchery in Rajshahi city has created high hope for further expansion of the lucrative prawn farming in the region among the commercially freshwater prawn farmers.
For the first time, the state-owned hatchery has gone into operation this year producing around three lakh larvae, said Dr Jinnat Ara Rokeya Chowdhury, manager of Fish Seed Multiplication Farm.
She said mother shrimps were collected from the Kocha River in Pirojpur district on May 23 last. Subsequently, those were disinfected and nursed in brine collected from the coastal belt.
During the entire nursing period, bio-security has been maintained strictly as it’s very important for post-larvae production from larval stage.
Dr Jinnat said they collected the huge larvae from May 25 to 29 in phases through maintaining balanced food, temperature, aeration and suitable water quality stringently. Around 30 percent survival rate has been attained in this initiation year.
Around one lakh post-larvae were supplied to the farmers in different districts under Rajshahi division this year.
Continuously, post larva will be produced here though bringing parents from the saline rivers every breeding season. Farmers can purchase healthy and quality hatchlings from here at a reasonable price. As a whole, the hatchery will contribute a lot towards fulfilling the farmers demand.
She mentioned that fluctuation of temperature, bio-security, water hardness and disruption of power supply are the major challenges to substantial reduction of mortality rate.
Farm Manager Dr Rokeya, however, expected that an adequate number of healthy post-larvae could be supplied to the farmers amid the existing challenges within the next couple of years.
Earlier, the Department of Fisheries (DoF) has constructed the modern prawn breeding hatchery at the compound of 3.29-hectare Fish Seed Multiplication Farm in the 2016-17 fiscal year at a cost of around Taka 74.96 lakh.
The aim of construction of the modern prawn breeding hatchery was to make the farming more popular through removing the existing spawn scarcity.
Divisional Deputy Director Tofaz Uddin said the DoF is intended to expand prawn farming in freshwater bodies through providing updated technologies to the grassroots farmers.
Demands of hatchlings and fingerlings will be met through successful implementation of the projects.
In addition to farmers’ motivation, the department has set up projection ponds.
The farmers should cultivate shrimp using modern farming methods as it is very profitable, he added.