September 26, 2023


Lower rainfall places Bangladesh's fish farming in difficult spot




Bangladesh's fisheries sector is facing an alarming downturn due to unpredictable weather conditions — specifically, a lack of sufficient rainfall during the peak season for fish farming.   


Experts are concerned that the significantly lower levels of rainfall are creating a crisis for both farmed and open-water fish production.


Fish scientist Dr. Anisur Rahman told the Daily Sun that water and temperature are crucial factors for fish growth both inland and in culture. While hatcheries can control these factors through technology, it's nearly impossible to do so in open water sources.


"Extreme heat waves and less rainfall during the monsoon season have had an adverse effect on fish farming in the country," said Dr. Rahman, adding that the breeding of open-water fish has been most affected.


According to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), the country experienced 44% lower rainfall in May, 16% in June, and a 51% less rainfall in July — three crucial months of the monsoon season.


This decline in precipitation has put tremendous stress on local fish farmers, many of whom rely on seasonal rains to fill ponds, ditches and other natural water bodies before releasing fish fry.


Due to the reduced rainfall this year, most of these water bodies have run dry, leading to delays in fish farming activities.


Fish farmers who usually depend on rain-dependent water bodies have had to delay the release of fish fry until August, expecting their fish to hit the market three months later than usual, said Anisur Rahman, chief executive officer of Shushma Feed Ltd.


KH Mahbubul Haque, director general of the Department of Fisheries, told the Daily Sun that Bangladesh is grappling with a severe drought that has hampered fish production.


"Fish production in the Haor region may also be affected this year due to extreme weather conditions," he noted, although he added that cultured fish producers might partially counter the crisis through late breeding and technology.


Approximately 40% of Bangladesh's total fish production comes from natural sources like water bodies, canals and rivers, while the remaining 60% comes from farming.

- The Daily Sun

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