Practical Action Bangladesh
Aquaculture is one of our key activities and hence Practical Action Bangladesh (formally ITDG
Bangladesh) has been facilitating cage culture in open and closed water bodies (large ponds,
canals, small river sites), pond aquaculture (seasonal and perennial ponds), rice-fish culture,
pond nursery, hapa breeding of GIFT and investigating livelihood context, production and
conservation options of small indigenous fish (and other native fish). The Periphyton-based
system already exists among pond fish farmers (also among fishers) as an unseen practice
which needs to be evaluated for improvement and to obtain sustainable and diversified
benefit. In a low input aquaculture system periphyton-based system has advantages for the
poor fish farmers. In conservation practices of fish (in sanctuaries) poor fishers might benefit
if they get more information on substrate and periphyton.
Observations on periphyton-based aquaculture
Practical Action Bangladesh has not conducted any systematic assessment on periphyton
based system, but initiated some observation on existing practices followed by farmers. It was
observed that approximately 25-30% of our targeted fisheries household use different
substrates in their ponds for protection and shelter of fishes. Among the fishers we discussed
(16 fishers in Faridpur Sadar) 20% knew that fish feeds on the fish gathering devices.
Some of the old farmers understand that fish feed on the substrates/plants, but they cannot
exactly mention what they feed on. They were found to use whatever substrate is available to
them. But, some of them have been selective. They prefer "Babla" tree (Gum tree) and "Gab"
tree (local name) branches. They also reported that fishes feed on vertiber grasses in the
slope of ponds. In community (fisher, fish farmer) managed systems, mainly Babla tree and
Gab tree branches are used in the deeper ditches (kua) to gather and protect fishes.
Suitability of different substrates
"Gab" tree (local name) branches
Observations by the fishers and
External surface does not rot easily - an
advantage. Algae (shaowla) easily attached
on the external surface. They have seen fish
to feed on the substrate.
Mango tree branches
External surface quickly decomposed. Algae
attachment Is less on the exposed internal
smooth surface. People may not often allow
cutting of mango tree branches as it is a
favourite fruit tree.
"Babla" tree (Gum tree) branches
Decomposes slowly. Better performance as a
substrate than mango branches tree
branches. Multi angular fine branches
Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK
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Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB