Locals say this method of poisoning fish has been continuing for the past few winters. Due to this, the natural food sources of the fish are being destroyed, which is hampering fish breeding and biodiversity
Greedy fishermen are poisoning the waters of the Matamuhuri River to catch large amounts of fish. There was a poisoning at the Kalingakhum area of the river, resulting in numerous dead fish on Monday and Tuesday.
Locals say this method of poisoning fish has been continuing for the past few winters. Due to this, the natural food sources of the fish are being destroyed, which is hampering fish breeding and biodiversity.
In the last few days, dead and near-dead fish have been floating up in the river, stretching up to four kilometres.
The Matamuhuri River, after originating in Myanmar, flows through Alikadam, Lama and Chakaria upazila and falls into the Bay of Bengal.
Saddam Hossain, resident of Lama Municipality said: “Greedy fishermen poison the water of the Matamuhuri River to catch various types of fish and they continue doing so as the authority does not take any action against them.”
According to locals, the hilly vine “Mel” is toxic and it kills fish. Miscreants spread Mel extract in the river in the dead of night. Then, they collect the dead fish floating on the surface water in low-tide areas.
People living near the riverside informed that, while swimming in the river, they saw prawn and small Punti fish floating around. The miscreants caught the big fish, while the small ones were left behind.
Numerous people, including women and children, started catching the small fish with hand-nets, cast-nets, mosquito nets and various other equipment.
People who came for fishing, including Ishak and Jashim, said that they caught fish like this at least 8-10 times during the dry season. Last year, this method of fishing was used in areas including Telirkhum, Kalingakhum, and Reparparikhum.
Shafiur Rahman Majumdar, resident medical officer of the Health Complex, said: “People can get poisoned after consuming the infected fish.”
Anil Kumar Saha, Bandarban district fisheries officer, said: “As there are no fisheries offices in Lama and Alikadam upazila, these crimes against nature are continuing unabated.
“It is a punishable crime to fish using poison. The people responsible should be brought to book soon,” he added.