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Marine fish spawning research begins

  • Published at 08:47 pm March 28th, 2019
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A histology laboratory set up at the Marine Fisheries Survey & Management Unit office in Chittagong Dhaka Tribune

By determining the peak spawning periods of fish, the histological study will ensure a safe environment for breeding and help fish species replenish their population

The Marine Fisheries Survey & Management Unit has embarked on a research project to determine the peak breeding season of some commercially important marine fish species in the Bay of Bengal.

As part of the research, a histology laboratory with modern equipment has been set up at Marine Fisheries Survey & Management Unit office in Chittagong.  

By determining the peak spawning periods of fish, the histological study will ensure a safe environment for breeding and help fish species replenish their population.

A total 12 scientific officers have been assigned to the laboratory. Among them, two researchers have already received specialized training from Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Mymensingh.

According to the researchers, determining peak breeding seasons, understanding biological characteristics, and the life cycle of fish are important for the management of fish species.  

Peak spawning periods of fish species can be determined through monthly histological study of gonads. The gonad is a reproductive gland (such as an ovary or testis) that produces gametes.

Initially, the researchers will work with five species of commercially important marine fish at the laboratory.

The five fish species are silver pomfret (stromateus argenteus), silver pennah croaker (johnius argentatus), bombay duck (harpadon nehereus), Indian mackerel (rastrelliger kanagurta), and butter fish (ariomma indica).

The scientific officers at the laboratory said their target is to conduct research on 50 species of commercially important marine fish over multiple phases.

There are 475 species of fish, 36 species of shrimp, 15 species of crab, seven species of squid and scuttle fish, five species of turtle, 56 species of algae, and 301 species of snail and oyster in the Bay of Bengal.

Out of the 475 species of fish, 85 -90 are commercially important.

Md Gaziur Rahman, a scientific officer of the Marine Fisheries Survey & Management Unit, said they have already begun working at the laboratory, and findings of the research on the initial five species will be made public after a year.

Bikram Jit Roy, another scientific officer of the unit, said that they have already collected samples of 15 marine fish species for gonad analysis at the laboratory.

On May 20, 2015, the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry issued a gazette prohibiting fishing in the Bay of Bengal from May 20-July 23 every year, to ensure smooth breeding of fish so they could replenish their populations.

Later, a writ petition was filed with the High Court challenging the legality of the ban. On May 15, 2017, the High Court rejected the writ and upheld the government order restricting fishing in the Bay of Bengal for a period of 65 days.

The research to determine peak breeding seasons of marine fish species will help settle the long-standing dispute over the ban period, and marine fish stock will be boosted in the Bay, the researchers hoped.