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Dolphin killing threatens Halda’s biodiversity

Published : 13 May 2020 09:29 PM | Updated : 05 Sep 2020 10:41 PM

The biodiversity at the natural breeding source of varieties of fishes including the breeding source of mother fishes in the river Halda is being badly threatened due to indiscriminate excavation of sand, digging of soil from the charland, plying of mechanised water-vehicles through the river-water and illegal catching of fishes from the river. 

As a result, various species of fishes including 22 Dolphins have been killed in Halda river during last two-year. 

Recently, a dead Dolphin was recovered from Chhayarchar area of Raujan of the river Halda. The Dolphin was killed brutally by stabbing and piercing its flesh and skin with sharp weapons. Later on, an 11 kg-weight, injured Katla fish was recovered. 

The Katla fish was injured by being hit with any speedy mechanised vehicle(boat).  The belly of the Katla fish was filled with a huge amount of eggs. The Fishing Department officials tried hard to keep the fish alive but failed. 

After visiting several spots, the Correspondent of Bangladesh Post noticed, local influential quarters were engaged in excavation of sand from various places of the Halda river including at the Natural Fish Breeding areas of Kochukhain, Mokamipara, Nagorir Mohra, Sarkda under Noapara union of Raujan through using dredgers and the power Pumps and carrying that to river banks through using mechnised boats. 

Soil is  also being dug and excavated  from various areas of Chhayar char, Halder Char under Noapara union of Raujan and being carried through mechanical river vehicles to dump that to the river bank of Raujan and Hathajari to sell those to traders. Moreover, indiscriminate and unabated catching of fishes is continuing by using long-nets and fishing traps and angles.

Residents living beside the river informed, influential people of the area were excavating sand from inside the river using dredger and pumps while sand and soil is being excavated and being carried through the river from the char areas of the Halda river, mainly at night. Some vested quarters were also  cartching large fishes including the pregnant-mother fishes by using long-nets and fishing rods or angles at the confluence of the river at Raujan and Hathajari areas.

 Recently, a dolphin was trapped in their net which they killed by stabbing brutally with sharp weapons. Meanwhile, to ensure a safe breeding of the Mother fishes, Chittagong district administration has cancelled leasing of all sand excavation sites but the influential quarters were continuing to excavate sand illegally by using dredger from the river site regularly by defying the ban.

It is learnt, the administration has imposed a ban on catching of any type of fish in a 498 kilometre area from Nazirhat to Kalurghat of the river Halda to ensure and save breeding of Mother fishes on the river. 

Still, catching of fish is continuing by defying the ban. Due to indiscriminate fishing, excavation of sand and soil and plying of mechanical vehicles, a large number of fishes including 22-dolphin were killed recently which is badly hampering the biodiversity of the river Halda. 

It is learn, by conducting raids, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Raujan Jonayed Kabir Sohag and Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Hathazari Ruhul Amin have seized a huge quantity of fishing net from the river Halda during last two-year. 

Even the power pumps and the dredgers used for excavating sand and soil from the river were destroyed but the illegal excavation of sand, illegal plying of mechanised boats and catching of fishes in the river were continuing.

Meanwhile, seeking ban on catching of Mother fish and halting of hunting of Dolphin, Lawyer of the Supreme Court Abdul Quiyum Liton has filed a writ petition with the Virtual Court and the Higher Court on May-11. After the hearing of the writ petition on May 12,  Judges of the Virtual High Court Obaidul Hasan directed the concerned authorities to take step to save Dolphins in the river Halda and the court also directed the concerned authorities to inform the court within next 72-hour about the measure taken in this connection. 

Following the directives of the higher court, Raujan Upazila Nirbahi Officer Zonayed Kabir Sohag with the Officials of Raujan Upazila Fish Extension Office and members of the Ansars conducted a raid from Kagtia Azimer Ghat to Moduna Ghat of Paschim Gujra Union of the Halda river and seized 350 metres of fishing net and seized a 3,000 square-feet sand laden mechanised water vehicle ( boat) from  Amtoa area of Hathazari of the river and destroyed those.

Raojan Upazila Nirbahi Officer Zonayed Kabir Sohag in this connection said, a huge quantity of fishing nets have been destroyed by conducting raids in Halda river in various times.  Many sand excavator machines, dredgers and mechanised water-vehicles have also been seized and destroyed and illegal sand excavators were also fined. 

Moreover, efforts is continuing to track and punish those engaged in catching of Mother fish and killing of Dolphins in the Halda river. He also assured to continue operation to save the Dolphin as well as the Biodiversity of the river Halda.