According to the Fisheries Department, in 2000-01 the total number of fish caught from inland water bodies was 1,475,039 tons and in 2016-17 the figure rose to 3,496,958 tons
Catching fish in the country has increased by 137% in the last 15 years.
Over the last 15 years, quantities of 10 species of fishes have drastically decreased and are on the verge of extinction.
According to the Fisheries Department, in 2000-01 the total number of fish caught from inland water bodies was 1,475,039 tons and in 2016-17 the figure rose to 3,496,958 tons.
Data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Bangladesh show the number of country’s threatened fish species in 2015 as 64, compared to 54 in 2000, showing about an 18.5% increase in threat to different species of fish.
The globally recognized Red List 2015 made by the IUCN said 253 species were assessed, of which, 64 have been found close to extinction - 25.3% of the total.
The threatened fish comprise of nine species as critically endangered, 30 as endangered and 25 species as vulnerable.
Twenty seven species were assessed as Near Threatened (NT), 122 species as Least Concern (LC) and the other 40 were considered Data Deficient (DD).
However, in IUCN’s previous assessment in 2000, it was seen that266 species of fish were assessed, of which, 54 were considered as threatened.
Among the assessed, 12 species were Critically Endangered (CR), 28 were Endangered (EN), 14 species were Vulnerable (VU), 66 species were Data Deficient (DD) and thebalance 146 species were considered as Not Threatened (NT).
Around 53% of the threatened fish belongs to carps, barbs and loaches (Order Cypriniformes), followed by catfish (Siluriformes) and perches (Perciformes).
Fisheries experts have blamed over exploitation and excess use of pesticides for agriculture as major causes of depleting the variation of indigenous fish resources.
“This situation is not only in Bangladesh, but across the world,” said Dr Mokhlesur Rahman, executive director of Centre for Natural Resources Studies (CNRS).
Regarding the increase in the amount of total inland fish catches, he said: “This is a clear result of initiatives, taken to increase culture fishes.”
Faruk, a fish wholesaler from Natore said: “The fish I mostly trade comes from cultured fish like carps- Ruhi, Katla and others. Local fish like Tengra that come to the market are cultured, these days.”
Dhaka Tribune’s local correspondents have reported the availability of indigenous fishes in the regional marketfrom different districts.
In most cases, the correspondents said the availability of indigenous or local fish species are now rare, and cultured fish have filled in their places.
Local people expressed their dissatisfaction for not getting enough of indigenous fish in the market as these taste better.
76-year-old Asgar Ali from Nilphamari expressed his helplessness by saying: “Even 30 years back, there was plenty of fish that we got from any wetland after the floods.
“People caught fish together. That was a spectacular scenario. We dried a large part of them to be used later.” The current generation will not believe it.”