Small-scale fish farming
Fish is an important part of the diet for the people in Bangladesh providing protein calcium,
fatty acids and vitamins.
Traditionally, a variety of local species were used in ponds, mainly carp, caught from the wild as
spawn (fertilised eggs or small fish). One of the main drawbacks of this source of supply is that
along with the desired fish species come many undesirable ones
Most of the species currently used in the cages in Bangladesh are exotics. However, for decades
these fish have bred naturally and distributed themselves throughout the flood plains and the
Common fish types
The selection a suitable fish species will depend on various biological and economic factors, such
Ability to reproduce simple culture of young fish
Match of fish and available fish feed
Water temperature is an important criteria in assessing which fish species is suitable.
The main types of cultivated fish are Carp, Tilapia and Catfish. Other fish suitable to cultivation
are eel, tawes, mullet, snakeskin, and rohu.
Some fish are more suitable to pond conditions than others, some fish will not adapt the
confined conditions while others such as the indigenous Koi (Anabas testidunous) have been
found to thrive in cages.
Small indigenous species
In addition to the main cultivated species there are many indigenous breeds of fish that play an
important role in the nutrition of the population. These fish are classed as small indigenous
species although not all fish within this classification are particularly small.
Of the 260 species of fresh water fish
found locally, over 140 species are
classified as Small Indigenous Species
(SIS) and account for over 80% of the
total catch, consumed by the poorer
section, as preferred species. The term
SIS would seem to be a recent re
interpretation of the Bangla word
chotmach (literally small fish) as opposed
to Boromach (literally large fish).
Common fish within the small indigenous
species category include:
Minnows, Rasboras, and bards
Anchovies and sardines
Figure 3: Bilkish with prepared food for her fish.
Photo : Practical Action / Zul.