“Over 600 fishermen with 280 boats began collecting the fertilised eggs from the river’s Kagatiyara point to Garduyara Nayahat point.”
Brood fishes of different indigenous species have started releasing eggs in the Halda River of Chattogram, one of the major natural breeding grounds of fish in South Asia.
"Since Friday morning at 7:30 am, the brood fishes started releasing eggs in full swing for the first time in the current season. At 12 am, the brood fishes started releasing sample eggs to test the congenial aquatic atmosphere," said Mohammad Ruhul Amin, upazila nirbahai officer (UNO), Hathazari, Chattogram.
"Over 600 fishermen with 280 boats began collecting the fertilised eggs from the river's Kagatiyara point to Garduyara Nayahat point," Manzoorul Kibria, a professor of Chattaogram University's Zoology Department and president of Halda River Protection Committee told The Business Standard.
Kamal Sowdagor, one of the fishermen of Garduyara Nayahat area said, "We are collecting eggs with six boats since 12 am. After 7 am, a huge amount of eggs are being netted."
Another egg collector Mohammad Elias of Ramadash Hat area said, "I have six boats which are being used in collecting eggs. Till 10 am, we have collected six buckets of eggs."
Experts and fishermen said usually the brood fishes release sample eggs to examine if there is a favourable environment to lay eggs in full swing.
The temperature of the water, strong currents and thunderstorms are some key factors to create a congenial atmosphere for the brood fish to lay eggs in the river, say experts.
Every year, during the Bengali months of Baishakh and Jaishtha (April and May), different indigenous species of carps like the catla, rui, mrigel and kalbaoush start migrating to the spawning ground of the Halda from rivers like the Karnaphuli, Matamuhuri and Sangu.
Due to the pollution caused by industrial effluents, netting of brood fishes, and sand excavation downstream were destroying the Halda's natural environment and hampering fish breeding that led to a remarkable decreased of breeding till 2017.
However, in recent years as the local UNO has increased surveillance to stop netting brood fish, Halda River is getting back its main natural stream.
In 2017 only 1,680 kg, in 2018 around 22,680 and last year 6,987 kg eggs were collected.
Fishermen said that they are expecting a big haul this year as pollution and human activity have dropped significantly in the river.