This article was originally written by Winrock International.
Through a country-wide competitive process, the Modhumoty Fish Hatchery was awarded the National Award and received the Gold Medal* from the Government of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister in celebration of National Fish Week 2017. This award showcases the hatchery’s significant contribution in aquaculture through quality fish hatchling production by adopting new technologies related to water recycling and reducing pressure on underground water. Because of these achievements, the hatchery now serves as a role model to other Bangladesh hatcheries to improve water recycling and sustainability in the aquaculture hatchery business.
Water scarcity is affecting the operation of aquaculture hatcheries in Bangladesh. Hatchery operators observe that the underground water level is decreasing annually, resulting in increased costs to access and utilize water. To address the problem, in December 2014, F2F volunteer, Dr. John Woiwode, worked with the USAID-funded Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (AIN) project to train 30 fish hatchery owners on how to efficiently recycle water using self-cleaning plastic media and tube filters. The volunteer developed a small prototype recycling system using plastic media (biofilter material sample brought from the United States) and locally available materials. This prototype was installed in the Modhumoty Hatchery in Jessore, marking the first time that a Bangladesh hatchery had used an improved water recycling system. Based on the pilot, the USAID AIN project supported the installation of the complete water recycling system in the Modhumoty Hatchery.
From 2014 until 2017, the Modhumoty Hatchery reduced the amount of underground water lifted from 140 million to 0.08 million liters, leading to energy and financial savings. The water recycling system, along with a newly-installed solar power system, helped the hatchery to increase hatchling production by 1,000 kg and reduce hatchling production costs from US$25 per kg to US$17.5 per kg. As a result, the hatchery’s profits grew from US$21,875 to US$61,875. Mr. Ekramul Kabir, owner of the Modhumoty Hatchery, states, “Dr. Woiwode gave us an excellent solution to our problem to ensure consistent water supply throughout the production cycles and continue our hatchery operation. We were really looking for such help. With his system, we’ve reduced lifting of underground water tremendously and achieved better results. Now, we’re not only profit makers, we’re the saver of the underground water.”
Abdullah Al-Masum, Project Manager for the USAID AIN project, reports, “The introduction of improved water recycling system in four hatcheries, including the Modhumoty Hatchery, has created enthusiasm among many other hatcheries. They are coming to us to learn about this.” Building on their volunteer’s training, USAID AIN trained their own staff and now can provide technical support on water recycling techniques to carp and tilapia operators.
Modhumoty Hatchery’s success has created an opportunity for other hatcheries to learn and adopt the improved water recycling system technology. About 500 students from different universities and others visited the hatchery to learn about the new technologies. Thanks to F2F volunteer technical assistance, the Modhumoty Hatchery is leading the way to significantly reduce pressure on underground water and help achieve sustainability in Bangladesh’s aquaculture industry.
*The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and the Department of Fisheries observe country-wide National Fish Week every year to encourage and promote aquaculture and fisheries production, processing, business, export, extension, research, and education. National Fish Week includes an award provided by the Prime Minister for significant contributions to aquaculture. The Gold Medal is the highest honor.