A total of 616 spawn collectors have collected 25,536kg eggs from the Halda on Friday
Fish breeders eagerly waiting for a successful spawning season were delighted to see brood fishes of a variety of indigenous fish species releasing thousands of eggs in the Halda River, Bangladesh’s largest natural breeding ground for carp.
Chittagong District Fisheries Officer Farhana Lovely said that a total of 616 spawn collectors have collected 25,536kg eggs from the Halda on Friday.
Noted Halda River researcher, Prof Dr Manzoorul Kibria, told the Dhaka Tribune that the brood fishes started releasing eggs around 7:30am on Friday and local spawn collectors started collecting eggs in the river.
Prompt vigilance by local administration, the shutdown of key pollution sources last year, and this year’s countrywide coronavirus shutdown have helped the river detoxify itself, Dr Manzoorul added.
He said recent efforts and the coinciding shutdown is a boon for the river, raising hopes for a big haul.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, the Hathazari Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) said three government hatcheries and 60 “Kuas” (small mud ponds) are all set for hatching.
“We have also made a list of all spawn collectors and issued Halda cards to spawn and fry collectors for being able to transport their haul without restriction. We have heightened our vigilance on the river to ensure an undisturbed spawning environment,” said the UNO.
Veteran spawn collector of the Halda, Kamal Sowdagor, said the authorities should strengthen vigilance so that no one who is not authorised, can catch the brood fish in the spawning season.
During the Bangla months of Baishakh and Jaishtha (April and May) every year, different species of mother fish, like Catla (Catla catla), Ruhi (Labeo rohita), Mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala) and Kalbaoush (Labeo calbasu) start migrating to the spawning grounds of the Halda, from rivers like the Karnaphuli, Matamuhuri, and Sangu.
The Halda which flows through the Hathazari and Raozan upazilas of Chittagong, considered the only natural breeding ground in the world where these species of fish release their eggs at a certain time in the monsoon. Fry-collectors use unique methods to catch these eggs and sell to fish farmers across the country.
After collecting the eggs, the fishermen keep the spawn in small mud ponds or “Kuas” on the riverbank where the fry are hatched within 18 hours. After hatching, the fries are then sold out to fry collectors or hatchery owners.