WorldFish Bangladesh, a global leader in inland fish production, inaugurated the first-ever specialised PCR-based molecular fish laboratory in Khulna.
It opened the private system laboratory, jointly with Fishtech (BD) on Thursday, to conduct research on fish and shrimp diseases and provide technical support to small-scale fish farmers, said a press release.
Funded by the USAID’s Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture Activity, the specialised ‘Fishtech Laboratory’ would help entrepreneurs boost commercial fish farming across Bangladesh.
The laboratory is equipped with RT-PCR technology to diagnose a total of 11 types of harmful viruses and bacterial diseases in fish and shrimp.
According to the latest annual fisheries survey for the year 2018-19, in Khulna district, the total amount of fish production was 6,612 84 metric tons.
However, like the fish farming communities in other parts of the country, the fish farming families and communities in Khulna and the southern part of the country are also affected by the outbreak of various fish and shrimp diseases.
In particular, they are losing interest in shrimp farming. That is why Bangladesh’s export earnings from shrimp are currently declining.
At this backdrop, both the institutes took the initiative to set up this Fishtech laboratory to considering all the hatcheries, nurseries and stock pond-fish farmers involved in this profession through perfect research and review on the problems of fish and shrimp farming, where all concerned can take the test service through the minimum price.
Dr Shenchang Senapin, the lead researcher at the Center for Excellence of Shrimp at Mahidol University in Thailand is the leading consultant for this Laboratory project.
While the coordinator of the project is Mr Mir Mosharraf Hossain, the Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Marine Bioscience of Jessore University of Science and Technology and a renowned researcher in Fisheries and Shrimp Pathology in Bangladesh.
Moreover, the Laboratory has recruited two technicians with postgraduate degrees from government universities for intensive diagnosis and they have been capacitated with all necessary training.
On the other hand, the Fishtech Laboratory has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Proficiency Tests and Joint Research with two more public universities and Research Laboratories.
This laboratory will be a landmark initiative in the field of fisheries and shrimp farming in Bangladesh, they hoped.
“It will also make a significant contribution to the development of sustainable fisheries, including fish and shrimp farming in the whole of the South and in Bangladesh, and to improve the living standards of the people involved in this profession”.
The participants expressed their hope that the Laboratory would lead to a major development in fish farming in the southern part of the country and in Bangladesh as a whole.
Chairman of Fishtech (BD) Ltd Khandaker Farhad Hossain presided over the function where Mohammad Ataul Karim Bhuiyan, Managing Director of Fishtech (BD), Mohammad Tareq Sarkar (Research and Development), director were also present among others.
Representatives of World Fish Bangladesh, Fishtech (BD) Ltd., several successful fish farmers, entrepreneurs from the southern part of the country also took part in the inaugural function.
On the occasion, Dr Mir Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain presented a special research paper on the need for a modern laboratory for the diagnosis of diseases in the management of semi-intensive farming of fish and shrimp.
Funded by USAID and implemented by World Fish Bangladesh since 2018, the five-year Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture Activity is a reflection of the success of the previous six-year Aquaculture and Nutrition (AIN) project.
The AIN project was completed in 2017 and currently, its successor Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture Activity is working in 23 districts across the country towards the increased production of sustainable fish farming and the improvement of the living standards of the small fish farmers through developing and market system development approach.