Freshwater shrimp farming in mixed culture method with some major carp fishes commercially has started gaining popularity in the region for the last couple of years, officials said.
There are enormous prospects of boosting farmers' income, employment generation, poverty reduction and protein security through the cherished expansion of shrimp farming in the region.
Dr Amimul Ehsan, District Fisheries Officer, Naogaon, said they are seeing a glittering prospect of shrimp farming with some major carps like Rui, katla and silver carp in the region.
They are also developing demonstration plots of prawn with engagement of the grassroots farmers.
He clarified that both water and soil quality in the region including majorparts of the Barind tract is suitable for prawn farming and that it will surely bring a diversity in the fish farming process.
Yousuf Ali, a farmer of Nandipara village under Puthiya upazila, said he hasbeen doing freshwater prawn farming since 2010 and attained successes in thisfield too.
Yousuf obtained a national award in 2015. This year, he has cultivated prawn in 75 ponds.
He had collected post-larva at Taka two per piece from a fish hatchery in Natore and nurtured those in a nursing pond. After 40 days, they become juvenile and I sell those at Taka 22 to 25 per piece to the local farmers who cultivate those in carp fish farming ponds.
Shahidul Islam, another spawn farmer of Kornoher village under Paba upazila, said many farmers collect juvenile prawn from him.
Within six months, each of those weights becomes 120 to 125 grams. In local markets, prawn is now being sold at Taka 700 to 750 per kilogram, he revealed.
Farmer Shafiul Alam said prawn farming is gaining popularity but supply of spawn is inadequate. Government patronization is needed in this regard for furthermore expansion of the potential farming, he said.
Meanwhile, a newly built hatchery in Rajshahi city has created high hope for further expansion of the lucrative prawn farming in the region among the commercially freshwater prawn farmers.
For the first time, the state-owned hatchery has gone into operation this year producing around three lakh larvae.
Dr Jinnat Ara Rokeya Chowdhury, manager of Fish Seed Multiplication Farm, said mother shrimps were collected from the Kocha River in Pirojpur district last breeding season. Subsequently, those were disinfected and nursed in brine collected from the coastal belt.
During the entire nursing period, bio-security has been maintained strictly as it's very important for post-larvae production from larval stage.
Dr Jinnat said they collected the huge larvae from May 25 to 29 in phases through maintaining balanced food, temperature, aeration and suitable water quality stringently. Around 30 percent survival rate has been attained inthis initiation year.
Around one lakh post-larvae were supplied to the farmers in different districts under Rajshahi division this year.
Continuously, post larva will be produced here though bringing parents from the saline rivers every breeding season. Farmers can purchase healthy and quality hatchlings from here at a reasonable price. As a whole, the hatchery will contribute a lot towards fulfilling the farmers demand.
She mentioned that fluctuation of temperature, bio-security, water hardness
and disruption of power supply are the major challenges to substantial
reduction of mortality rate.
Farm Manager Dr Rokeya, however, expected that an adequate number of healthy
post-larvae could be supplied to the farmers amid the existing challenges
within the next couple of years.
Divisional Deputy Director of the department of fisheries Abdur Rouf said
they are expanding prawn farming in freshwater bodies through providing
updated technologies to the grassroots farmers.
Demands of hatchlings and fingerlings will be met through successful implementation of the time-fitting efforts.
In addition to farmers' motivation, the department has set up projection ponds.
The farmers should cultivate shrimp using modern farming methods as it is very profitable, he added.