Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Volume 4, Issue 6, December 2015, Pages: 296-299

Study on Present Status of Fish Biodiversity in Wetlands of Sylhet District, Bangladesh

Mohammed Ariful Islam1, Md. Jahidul Islam1, Sanzib Kumar Barman1, Farjana Morshed1, Sabiha Sultana Marine2

1Department of Aquatic Resource Management, Faculty of Fisheries, Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet, Bangladesh

2Department of Fisheries Technology and Quality Control, Faculty of Fisheries, Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet, Bangladesh

Email address:

(M. A. Islam)

To cite this article:

Mohammed Ariful Islam, Md. Jahidul Islam, Sanzib Kumar Barman, Farjana Morshed, Sabiha Sultana Marine. Study on Present Status of Fish Biodiversity in Wetlands of Sylhet District, Bangladesh. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Vol. 4, No. 6, 2015, pp. 296-299. doi: 10.11648/j.aff.20150406.20

Abstract: The study was conducted to identify the present status of fish biodiversity in the wetlands of Sylhet district for a period of 12 months from January 2014 to December 2014. It was done by questionnaire interviews (QI) of fishers, focus group discussions (FGD), and key informant interviews (KII) and secondary data collection. During the study period, a total of 58 fish species under 21 families were recorded. The species availability status was remarked in four categories and obtained as 24 commonly available, 16 moderately available, 18 rarely available species. Highest number of commonly available species was found in October to December and lowest number of commonly available species was observed in March to April. Among 54 threatened fish species listed by IUCN Bangladesh, about 30 species were found 10-15 years ago in those wetlands but only 23 were found during the study period. It is revealed that there has been gradual reduction of fish diversity in the wetlands of the area of Sylhet district and average fish catch per fisherman per day was also reduced.Community based fisheries management, fishing gears maintenance, sanctuary establishment and management, implementation of fish acts and regulations, stocking of fish fingerling in the open waters, dredging of beels and raising public awareness can play a great role in conserving fish biodiversity.

Keywords: Biodiversity Reduction, Species Availability, Threatened Species, Conservation, Questionnaire Interview

1. Introduction

Aquatic biodiversity has enormous economic and aesthetic value and is largely responsible for maintaining and supporting overall environmental health (Hossain, 2012). Wetlands are one of the world’s key natural resources (Khan et al., 1994). It is the transition between land and water and is the most productive ecosystems in the world. The biodiversity of the wetland ecosystem is variable in the world; it encompasses the range of living things, the degree of genetic variation, and the wealth of different habitats within a particular ecosystem.

The Ramsar Convention (1971) has defined wetlands as – "areas of marsh, fen, peat land, or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters." Bangladesh is a home to at least 265 freshwater fish species (Rahman, 2005). Huge number of wetlands in various forms viz. rivers, haors, boars, beels, pond, ditch etc. support these large number of fish species. Among them, wetlands of Sylhet district are so important that contributes a huge amount of fish to the people of the country. The major wetlands in Sylhet district are Hailkar, Jilkar, Patharchauli, Jainkar, Chauldhani, Balai, Muria, Erali and Damrir haors.

At present time, reduction in the abundance and kinds of fish species from the inland waters or wetlands of Bangladesh is a burning issue in the country (Galib et al. 2009, Imteazzaman and Galib 2013). However, a total of 54 fish species of Bangladesh have been declared threatened by IUCN (IUCN Bangladesh 2000). All these findings clearly indicate the need for water body specific detailed biodiversity studies which is essential to assess the present status of fish biodiversity and sustainable management of a body of water (Galib et al. 2013a; Imteazzaman and Galib 2013). Though such type of research efforts are much common in neighbor countries like India (Dahanukar et al. 2012, Kharat et al. 2012, Baby et al. 2010, Jadhav et al. 2011, Patra 2011, Johnson and Arunachalam 2009, Heda 2009, Saha and Bordoloi 2009) but very few in Bangladesh.

To the best knowledge of the authors no previous research work has been conducted on fish biodiversity of Wetlands of Sylhet Districts, Bangladesh. So, this study will be very significant for the assessment of present status of fish biodiversity of Wetlands of Sylhet district, Bangladesh.

2. Methodology

2.1. Description of Study Area

Wetland fish species diversity was recorded in Sylhet district in Bangladesh from January to December in 2014. The selected wetlands were Hailkar, Jilkar, Patharchauli, Jainkar, Chauldhani, Balai, Muria, Erali and Damrir haors. The geographical location of the Sylhet district is an area of 3452.07 km2(1332.85 sq. miters); it is bounded by Sunamgonj district on the west, Moulvibazar district on the south and Habogonj district on the south-west. The sites of the study are illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Location of wetlands at different upazilas of Sylhet district.

2.2. Data Collection

The study was based on field survey method where an appropriate questionnaire was prepared and used for collecting data from villagers of the surrounding study area under Sylhet district. During collection of data, both primary and secondary sources were considered to interpret the results.

Primary data were collected from 40 randomly selected fishermen through questionnaire interviews (QI) and focus group discussions (FGD) where Upazila Fisheries Officer (UFO), union parishad chairman & members, leaders of the fisher community, fish market leaders, fish traders, fry traders and community people of the selected wetlands area were also present. The secondary information was collected from upazila fisheries office under Sylhet district, district fisheries office of Sylhet, books, journals and others. After collecting data, it was cross-checked through key informant interviews (KII) with Upazila Fisheries Officer (UFO), District Fisheries Officer (DFO), school teachers, local leaders and NGO workers in the study area. Finally data were analyzed by using Microsoft office excels 2010.

Figure 2. The design of the present study involved the steps.

3. Results and Discussion

According to the statement of local fishermen, a total of 58 fish species under 21 families were recorded. The recorded fish species with accurate taxonomy were identification by the cross-matching of definite fish characters from the text book, named "Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh" (A. K. Ataur Rahman, Department of Fisheries, Matshya Bhaban, Dhaka). The recorded fish species are represented in the following table with their biodiversity status and IUCN status.

Table 1. List of recorded fish species with their status.

Sl. No. Family Local Name Common Name Scientific Name Biodiversity status IUCN Status
1 Cyprinidae Rohu Indian Major Carp Labeo rohita CA NO
2 Cyprinidae Carpio Common Carp Cyprinus carpio CA EX
3 Cyprinidae Kalibaush Black Rohu Labeo calbasu CA EN
4 Bagridae Bujuri Long Bled Catfish Mystus tengra CA NO
5 Bagridae Tengra Striped Dwarf Catfish Mystus vittatus CA NO
6 Siluridae Boal Freshwater Shark Wallago attu CA NO
7 Siluridae Modhu Pabda Butter Catfish Ompok pabda CA EN
8 Siluridae Pabda Pabo Catfish Ompok pabo CA EN
9 Clariidae Magur Walking Catfish Clarius batrachus CA NO
10 Heteropneustidae Shing Stinging Catfish Heteropneustes fossilis CA NO
11 Cyprinidae Tit Punti Ticto Barb Puntius ticto CA VU
12 Cyprinidae Teri Punti One Spot Barb Puntius terio CA NO
13 Cyprinidae Jat Punti Spot Fin Swamp Barb Puntius sophore CA NO
14 Channidae Taki Spotted Snakehead Channa punctatus CA NO
15 Channidae Shol Snakehead Murrel Channa striatus CA NO
16 Mastacembelidae Guchi Baim Striped Spiny Eel Macrognathus pancalus CA NO
17 Mastacembelidae Tara Baim One Striped Spiny Eel Macrognathus aculeatus CA VU
18 Anabantidae Baro Khalisha Striped Gourami Colisa fasciatus CA NO
19 Anabantidae Chota Khalisha Honey Gourami Colisa chuno CA NO
20 Anabantidae Koi Climbing Perch Anabas testudineus CA NO
21 Ambassidae Gol Chanda Indian Glass Fish Parambassis ranga CA VU
22 Nandidae Meni Mud Perch Nandus nandus CA VU
23 Cobitidae Gutum Guntea Loach Lepidocephalichthys guntea CA NO
24 Palaemonidae Sada Icha Prawn Macrobrachium sp. CA NO
25 Cyprinidae Catla Indian Major Carp Catla catla MA NO
26 Cyprinidae Mrigal Indian Major Carp Cirrhinus cirrhosus MA NO
27 Cyprinidae Grass Carp Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella MA EX
28 Cyprinidae Silver Carp Silver Carp Hypophthalmicthys molitrix MA EX
29 Cyprinidae Mola Carplet Amblypharyngodon mola MA NO
30 Cyprinidae Darkina Flaying Barb Esomus danricus MA DD
31 Channidae Cheng Asiatic Snakehead Channa orientalis MA VU
32 Bagridae Golsha Long Whiskered Catfish Mystus cavasius MA VU
33 Channidae Gozar Giant Snakehead Channa marulius MA EN
34 Mastacembelidae Baro Baim Two-track Spiny Eel Mastacembelus armatus MA EN
35 Sybranchidae Cuchia Gangetic Mud Eel Monopterus cuchia MA VU
36 Ambassidae Lamba Chanda Elongated Glass Perchlet Chanda nama MA VU
37 Gobiidae Bele Bar Eyed Goby Glossogobius giuris MA NO
38 Notopteriidae Foli Bronze Featherback Notopterus notopterus MA VU
39 Cobitidae Bou Rani Bengal Loach Botio dario MA EN
40 Tetraodontidae Potka Ocellated Puffer fish Tetraodon cutcutia MA NO
41 Cyprinidae Goniya Kuria Labeo Labeo gonius RA EN
42 Cyprinidae Bata Minor Carp Labeo bata RA EN
43 Cyprinidae Dhela Cotio Osteobrama cotio RA EN
44 Cyprinidae Chela Finescale Razorbelly Minnow Chela phulo RA NO
45 Cyprinidae Shar Punti Olive Barb Puntius sarana RA CR
46 Bagridae Rita Rita Rita rita RA CR
47 Bagridae Ayre Long Whiskered Catfish Mystus aor RA VU
48 Bagridae Gagla Menoda Catfish Hemibagrus menoda RA NO
49 Schilbeidae Gharua Gharua Bacha Clupisoma garua RA CR
50 Schilbeidae Batashi Indian Potasi Pseudeutropius atherinoides RA NO
51 Schilbeidae Kajoli Gangetic Ailia Ailia coilia RA NO
52 Pangasidae Thai Pangus Sutchi Catfish Pangasius hypophthalmus RA EX
53 Clupeidae Chapila Indian River Shad Gaduasia chapra RA NO
54 Anabantidae Lal Khalisha Dwarf Gourami Colisa lalia RA NO
55 Ambassidae Lal Chanda Indian Glass Perchlet Parambasis lala RA EN
56 Cichlidae Tilapia Mozambique Tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus RA EX
57 Hemiramphidae Ekthute Congaturi Halhbeak Hyporamphus limbatus RA NO
58 Palaemonidae Golda Prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii RA NO

CA=Commonly available, MA=Moderately available, RA=Rarely available.

CR=Critically endangered, EN=Endangered, VU=Vulnerable, NO=Not threatened, DD=Data deficient and EX=Exotic species.

4. Recommendation

Fish sanctuary should be established in the selected wetlands area before breeding season.

No fishing in the fish sanctuary in a defined time (several months) should be ensured.

Overfishing should be prohibited in the wetlands area.

Banded fishing gears (specially banded fishing nets) should be prohibited in the selected areas.

Community based fisheries management (CBFM) should be established in the haor areas.

Alternative earning source of the people of haor areas should be provided during banded season of fishing.

Increasing awareness among the much people of surrounding wetland areas.

5. Conclusion

Wetlands of Sylhet district are generally considered as a highly diversified zone of Bangladesh mainly for its rich aquatic biodiversity. According to the statement of the respondent fishermen, the total fish biodiversity is reducing drastically in the wetlands of Sylhet district due to lake of proper management. As a consequence, wetland ecosystem protection is important for species conservation and the protection of a sustainable environment.


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