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One-fourth freshwater fish species face extinction

Published : 07 Feb 2020 08:40 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 10:02 PM

Around one fourth fresh water fish species are on the verge of extinction, according to an IUCN estimation. Experts blame severe water pollution, growing use of pesticide in farmlands and waterbodies, slashing of water bodies, climate change and industrialisation as the reasons behind the declining trend in number of fresh water fishes.

State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru recently told the Parliament that out of 260 freshwater fish species of the country, 64 are under threat. Of them, 30 are highly endangered. He cited the estimation claimed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It is worth mentioning that ‘The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species’ is widely recognised as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species and their links to livelihoods. Particularly, its scientifically rigorous approach to determine risks of extinction has become a world standard.

The State Minister also told the parliament that about 13 species of fish are on the verge of extinction at 725 sq km Kaptai Lake area in Rangamati and Khagrachari districts. However, experts claim that the actual image might be even worse. Experts opine that one of the key reasons for the decline in fisheries production in Bangladesh's reservoirs is excess use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides for crop production.

Agriculturist Aminul Islam said, “There are millions of ponds in thousands of villages in the country. Once those waterbodies were abode of varieties of fishes.” “Over time, many of those fish species have become extinct,” he said, adding ‘fish and fisheries play an important role in the nutrition, economy, employment and culture of Bangladesh people. In fact, fish is second staple food after rice in Bangladesh. We are the sixth freshwater fish producing country in the world’.

Shmaol Bangla Fish Firm’s owner Enamul Islam claimed there is a high demand of freshwater fishes in the capital. “I think we must meet the demand, but in the name of fulfilling the demand, it is more important to keep an eye on natural sources of fisheries that are being lost, he added.”

Jakaria Ahmed, a fish trader form Kishoreganj expressed hope that proper measures would be taken to protect the endangered fish species as the issue has been raised in Parliament. “However, currently what they are doing in this regard is not enough. We expect that the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will take necessary steps in this regard”, he added.