All-out measures taken to preserve Halda

The river declared Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage

The government has taken all out measures to preserve the Halda River, the lone natural breeding ground of delicious carp-like fish in South Asia.

After Karnaphuli, the country's second major 'economic river' and 'fish mine' Halda River finally has been paid to the top of state importance. The government has declared this river as the 'Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage', where fishing of dolphins and other migratory animals of the river will remain banned.

Chattogram Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ilias Hossain said, “We have taken several steps to protect the Halda River. We have continued our efforts to prevent the netting of mother fishes and stop the movement of dredgers.”

“As part of the moves, mobile courts will be operated regularly against fishing of mother fishes, pollution of the river and illegal occupation,” said the DC.

Chittagong University Halda Research Center researcher Professor Md. Manjurul Kibria said, “The important economic river of the country, Halda River, also known as a Fish Bank, has been declared as the ‘Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage’. As a result, Halda's unique features and contributions gained national recognition.”

According to sources, as per a promise of the Mujib Borsho, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock on December 22 issued a notification in this regard. According to the official gazette, a 12-point ban and conditions will be enforced in Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage or in the Halda river area.

As part of the 12-point conditions of the ‘Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage’, no one will be able to hunt fish and other migratory animals in this river from now on.

However, under the supervision of the Department of Fisheries, fertilised fish eggs can be collected during a certain period of time in the breeding season every year. Besides, no activity that destroys the habitat of animals and plants can be done. Activities which destroy the natural characteristics of land and water cannot be done. Waste and liquid waste generated by sewers of houses, industrial establishments and other establishments around the river would be discharged. Engine-run boats will not be allowed to operate during the pre-breeding and breeding season (March to July) of the Rui fish.

It should be mentioned that Halda River, which is considered to the world famous as the ‘Fish Bank’ and ‘Gene Bank’, is the lone natural breeding ground for large species of freshwater fish in Asia (Rui-Katla carp).

According to sources, researchers at home and abroad are astonished by witnessing the Halda River's fish-seed stock. But, the reality is that the present condition of the river is now at a very poor state as mother fishes and dolphins are being caught indiscriminately. The river was being destroyed in various ways by sand extraction and river dredging. Many factories and industries have been set up on the river banks. The river has been narrowed down through illegal occupations and creating dams indiscriminately.

Official sources said, once 76 species of fishes could be found in Halda River. But, already about 20 species of fishes, Gangetic dolphins and various other animals are now endangered.

Experts said with the announcement of the Halda River as the 'Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage', mother fishes like Rui, Katla, Mrigal and Kalibaush will be able to lay eggs freely. Halda will be able to supply thousands of crores of rupees worth of eggs, pollen and fish fry every year. The country will be prosperous with freshwater fisheries.