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Sterile flies released to suppress wild flies in Sonadia


Published : 05 Dec 2021 10:20 PM | Updated : 06 Dec 2021 05:08 PM

Two lakh sterile flies have been released on Sonadia Island in Cox's Bazar to produce pesticide-free and healthy dry goods by reducing the infestation of harmful flies. These sterile flies produced in the laboratory will be used to control wild flies which are harmful to dry fish. This method is environmentally friendly, sustainable, easy and self-sufficient. This method will make it possible to produce non-toxic and safe dry goods. The government has taken initiative to increase the production of dry fish in Cox's Bazar by controlling flies using this sterilization technology.

A team of scientists led by Head of the Department of Radiation Entomology and Spider Science at the Institute of Food and Radiation Biology, Atomic Energy Research Institute ATM Faizul Islam released the sterile fly on Sonadia Island on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the head of the BFRI's Marine Fisheries and Technology Center, Dr Shafiqur Rahman, Senior Scientific Officer of Radiation Entomology and Spider Science Muhsina Yasmin and Md Shahinur Islam, Scientific Officer Mosharraf Hossain and Scientific Assistant Md. Local dry producers including Abul Kalam Azad were present.

Amanullah, a local dry goods producer, said that in 2008, sterile flies were released on Sonadia Island to reduce the infestation of harmful flies. After that the infestation of harmful flies is reduced and the production and quality of dry fish also increases.

Nur Mohammad, another local drywall producer, described the benefits of sterile flies. The price of dry goods is also double than before. Due to the release of new sterile flies after 14 years, the production of quality dry fish will increase a lot this season and the producers are also expected to benefit a lot.

Head of the Department of Radiation Entomology and Spider Science at the Institute of Food and Radiation Biology, Atomic Energy Research Institute ATM Faizul Islam said that in order to produce pesticide-free, safe and healthy dry fish, the infestation will be released on a larger scale next week in Nazirarte, the largest dry village in the country. The government has taken initiative to increase the production of dry fish in Cox's Bazar by controlling flies using this sterilization technology. To this end, a laboratory and technology center has already been set up at the city's Kalatalistha beach mineral sand extraction center at a cost of around Tk 6 crore. Using this environmentally friendly and safe technology invented by the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, it is possible to increase the production of dried fish by about one third every year.

According to relevant sources, about 12 lakh metric tons (1.2 million tons) of marine and freshwater fish are produced in Bangladesh every year. About 15% of the fish are dried in the sun and converted into dried fish. However, when the fish is dried in the sun, about 30% of the dried fish is destroyed by the attack of a species of harmful fly called Leuciniacapria. 

Of these, the country's largest dry goods mahal Nazirartekei lost about 100 crore Tk per year. And to get rid of the harmful effects of these flies, dry producers are applying fish poisons or adding extra salt. As a result, the health of both the consumer and the producer is being severely damaged. Due to this, the quality of dry goods is also decreasing and production cost is increasing. Due to which the market price is going down and dried fish is not going to be exported abroad. Considering all these, the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission has developed a technology to control the harmful insects of dried fish through the method of sterilization, said the head of the Atomic Energy Research Institute, Department of Food and Radiation Biology ATM Faizul Islam.

He said that it is possible to increase the production and quality of dry fish by reducing the number of harmful flies through the use of sterilization technology. This method is environmentally friendly, sustainable, easy and self-sufficient. This method will make it possible to produce non-toxic and safe dry goods. Due to which the demand for dry goods in the domestic market will increase. Dry producers will get high market price. On the other hand, it is possible to earn a lot of foreign currency by exporting these non-toxic and safe dry goods abroad.

Dr Faizul said that this technology invented by Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission is a kind of birth control method. In this method, wild flies are released several times in any area without infertility. After that, the baby does not hatch from the egg that is born by mixing the harmful fly with the sterile fly. In this way the lineage of the fly gradually decreases. However, for the control of harmful flies, this method should be applied once every two months, he said.

Scientists say four species of flies can be seen at Sonadia and Nazirartek Shutki warehouses. Of these, only the Leuciniacaprina species of flies lay their eggs in the dry fishes and destroy these. And this species of fly is caught from the wild environment and mass production is done in a controlled environment in the laboratory. From eggs to larvae, then the flies pass through four stages, including the pipa, and transform into full-grown adults. But male flies become infertile when a certain amount of gamma and X-ray radiation is applied to the laboratory in the third stage or barrel stage. Twice or more sterile flies are released to free an area from harmful flies.

The International Convention for the Protection of Plants also states that sterilized insects are a profitable animal and that sterilization is a two-pronged technology. That method does not use endemic or exotic insects.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already signed an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the development of mosquito control technology in this area. Under the agreement, signed in November 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hope to reduce the incidence of chikungunya, dengue and Zika by controlling the Aedes mosquito population.

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