World Fish Centre (WFC) and Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) have teamed up to revive the lost glory of the Halda River as the county's largest natural fish breeding ground, reports UNB.
WFC and BSFF Thursday signed an agreement at the secretariat in presence of Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdullah Al Noman to conduct a study on how to protect resources of the river located in Chittagong. BSFF Chairman Syed Mahmudul Haque and WFC Director of South Asia region Alan Brooks signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.
The two-month long study, to be financed by WFC, is expected to begin next week.
The main objectives of the research are to provide a clear landscape for assessing, monitoring and managing the river to conserve its fish resources, raise economic value of its resources and improve the livelihoods of those dependent on it.
Addressing a press conference organised on the occasion, the minister said fish resources of the Halda River are now dwindling for various reasons and the government has taken steps to bring back the river's lost glory as the natural breeding ground.
He said on completion of the study a project would be undertaken to protect resources of the river. In the next breeding season, certain areas of the river would be declared sanctuaries restricting fishing and movement of engine boats.
The press conference was addressed, among others, by Fisheries and Livestock Secretary M Abdul Karim, Syed Mahamudul Haque and Alan Brooks.
M Abdul Karim said the government initiative would not only be confined to the Hala River, but there will be efforts to give a boost to the country's overall fish output.
The journalists present at the press conference were briefed about the past and present fish resources of the Halda, considered as one of the most important rivers since fertilised carp eggs are found in it.
But collection of carp spawns decreased sharply over the years due to man-made pressure and lack of management. In 1946, over 4,000 kilograms of carp spawns were collected from the river while only 100 kilograms in 2005.
If conserved properly, the Halda River could become a world heritage.