Fakirhat upazila of Bagerhat district has a worldwide reputation for producing lobsters. However, the cultivation of the fish known as ‘white gold’ has severely been affected due to natural calamities.
Locals said it is not possible for the marginalised farmers to make a turnaround unless there is a good yield in the next season.
Shrimp is farmed in all the upazilas of Bagerhat. Of them, Fakirhat, Mollahat and Chitalmari are famous for producing sweet water lobsters. A significant amount of lobsters is produced in Fakirhat upazila.
Around 95 percent residents in the upazila are engaged in this profession.
According to the upazila fisheries office, there are around 3,500 shrimp farmers in Fakirhat upazila. A total of 1,800 tonnes of shrimp are produced every year in over 8,500 fish enclosures on 3,500 hectares of land in the upazila.
About 70 percent of lobsters died in October and November last due to excessive heat and the strike of cyclone Bulbul which unleashed its fury in the coastal districts on November 10, making many farmers paupers.
Besides, many farmers have gone into hiding after failing to repay loans taken from banks and NGOs at a high interest rate.
The victims said they will be discouraged to farm shrimp again unless they get assistance from the government on easy conditions.
However, fisheries officer of the district Avijit Sheel could not give any assurance about waived loans or providing any financial assistance.
Experts underscored the need for adopting modern technology alongside giving farmers more facilities.
PhD researcher M Iftekhar Alam said it is possible to avert such disaster if the modern technology is adopted for farming fish.