Local fish aplenty in Chalanbeel

Azim Uddin from Handial village has been catching fish at Chalanbeel in the village, under Chatmohar upazila of Pabna, over the last one decade.

During this time last year, he got only 10 to 15 kilograms of local fish at the beel every day. But this year, he is catching 25 to 30 kg of fish every day. 

"The entire Chalanbeel is filled with water now and we are getting a huge amount of local fish in the water body. I have been catching 25 to 30 kg of fish from Handial area of Chalanbeel over the past one month," said Azim.

A total of 81 fish species -- 72 indigenous and 9 exotic -- exist in the Chalanbeel, the largest wetland in the country and a significant source of local fish species such as Rui, Katol, Chitol, Aair, Boal, Puti, Tengra, Bayim, Kholse, Guchi, Sorputi and Bele.

"Production of local species of fish in Chalanbeel has increased remarkably due to lingering floods in the area this year. The floodwater as well as heavy rainfall helped good breeding of various local fish in Chalanbeel," said Shahed Ali, fisheries officer in Sirajganj.

The fish population in the water body has increased by around 50 to 60 percent due to the floods, he added.

This correspondent during a visit to of Chalanbeel's Handial area, Mannan Nagar in Tarash upazila of Sirajganj and Gurudaspur upazila in Natore, saw hundreds of locals catching fish all day in the vast wetland.

Handial resident Raisul Islam said, "The fishermen are using various nets for catching fish. I have been getting good catch of fish, using Khora Nets for the last few weeks."

More than 50 locals have been catching fish from Handial area. But, due to excessive supply, they are not getting good price for the fish at local markets.

Each kg of small fish is selling for Tk 60 to Tk 100 and each kg of medium sized fish is selling for Tk 120 to Tk 200 at the local market, he said, adding that finding only a handful of customers at the local market, the fishers oftentimes bring their catch back home and dry those in the sun.

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