A newly built hatchery in Rajshahi has created high hope among the freshwater prawn farmers relating to furthermore expansion of the lucrative prawn farming in the region.
Department of Fisheries (DoF) has constructed the modern prawn breeding hatchery at a cost of around Taka 74 crore with the main thrust of making the farming more popular through removing the existing prawn seedlings and spawn scarcity.
District Fisheries Officer Subhash Chandra Shaha told BSS that commercial farming of freshwater prawn has been gaining popularity in the region following lucrative market price and gradually mounting consumers' demands.
"The hatchery is expected to go into functioning in the forthcoming breeding season. Afterwards, spawn production will start and farmers can collect those by mid of this year. Post larva will be produced here though bringing parents. Farmers can purchase healthy and quality hatchlings from here at reasonable price," he said.
As a whole, the hatchery will contribute a lot towards fulfilling the farmers demand.
Yousuf Ali, a farmer of Nandipara village under Puthiya upazila, said he started freshwater prawn farming in 2010 and attained successes. Yousuf obtained national award in 2015. This year, he has cultivated prawn in 65- decimal pond.
"I collect post-larva at Taka two per piece from fish hatchery in Natore and nurse those in 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 pond," said Yousuf Ali.
Another spawn farmer of Kornoher village under Paba upazila Shahidul Islam 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 added.
He, however, expected that the newly built hatchery will help removing their existing problems of collecting and nursing seedlings.
Subhash Shaha said the DoF is implementing two projects in order to expand the farming in Barind region comprising Rajshahi, Naogaon and Natore districts.
DoF intends to expand prawn farming in freshwater bodies through transferring and disseminating updated technologies to the grassroots farmers. Demands of hatchlings and fingerlings will be met up through successful implementation of the projects.
In addition to farmers' motivation, the department has set up projection ponds. Shrimp farming is very profitable. The farmer should cultivate shrimp by using the modern shrimp farming method to get better production and benefits.
The hatchery will benefit the farmers in Rajshahi and its adjacent districts enormously, the District Fisheries Officer expected.