Good news for hilsa lovers: Bangladesh tries pond farming


Dhaka : Those who have succumbed to the charms of the hilsa will love this! Bangladesh is attempting to farm the fish – the country’s most delectable foreign exchange earner – in ponds, as its very existence is threatened by pollution, climate change and even over-consumption.

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Researchers at Chandpur Fisheries Research Institute have taken to farming the hilsa in ponds, seeking to belie a common perception that hilsa fish can survive only in rivers.

People in Bangladesh as well as West Bengal in India swear by the taste of the full-of-bones yet melt-in-the mouth hilsa, with its preparation considered a must during festivities.

Hilsa eggs, fried and spiced up, are also eaten with relish in both countries, though some say this has led to over-consumption of the fish.

Work has been on since 1988 to breed the hilsa in ponds, but there was no breakthrough until now. Chief scientific officer of the institute Anisur Rahman hopes to succeed this time, The Daily Star reported Thursday.

A 1.5-inch long newly born hilsa fish, also called fry, was released into a pond under the supervision of the institute. Three ponds inside the institute have been readied for hilsa farming. A full-scale experimental rearing of hilsa in the ponds will begin this month.

The researchers said fishermen net 10,000 to 19,000 tonnes of fry a year.