Currently around 160 tons of dried fish, worth around Tk4 crore are being produced every year in the region, insiders said
Dry fish or shutki production is booming in Narail's beel (a type of waterbody) area over the last couple of years, bringing smiles on the faces of the local people involved in the profession.
Currently around 160 tons of dried fish, worth around Tk4 crore are being produced every year in the region, insiders said.
After meeting the local demand, the shutki is being exported to neighbouring country India as well as other parts of the country.
However, detailed statistics on dried fish production in the district is not available yet in the local office of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
Narail Fisheries Officer Muhammad Farukul Islam said dry fish production is gaining popularity in the region.
The district having 57 beel had huge potential in dry fish production, he said and added that the shutki production would further increase if workers there got proper training.
Fishermen dump the unsold fishes at dry-fish hubs and sell them at lower prices.
The traders at the hubs produce the shutki processing the fishes. Usually making the dry fishes remain momentous between October to February.
The demand for the shutki is very high because of its taste.
Visiting several dry fish hubs in the area, this correspondent found that workers at the hubs were passing very busy days in making the shutki.
The hub traders initially buy different varieties of fish, including Puti of beel, a type of water body, from fishermen, wholesale and retail fish markets.
Workers then cut and clean the fish, add salt and dry them on a bamboo platform in the sun for four to five days. After collecting the dried fish, they start packaging for sale in the markets.
The number of such hubs reached to 25 over the last 8 years in the region. About three thousand people are directly involved in the sector, said the insiders.
A dry fish hub owner Hazi Chan Miah said that he collected fish directly from fishermen and processed them to Shutki.
"I make good profit and it is increasing day by day," he said.
Fishermen said they were getting good prices for their fish which is unsold in the regular market.
They sell the fishes at Tk8-12 thousands per maund based on their quality and sizes.
Apart from making shutki, the fishes collected by the hub are being used for producing poultry feed.
Narayan Bishwas, a fisherman, said he net puti fishes from beel but could not sell all of them.
"Among the unsold, We took the big-size puti and the rest was used as duck's feed," he said.
"But now I can sell the fishes to dry fish hubs," he added and expressed satisfaction that he could make more money selling the fishes.
He said that the booming dry fish trade there helped them sell their all fishes netted from bil. Besides, it brought a relief for them, he said.