The stingrays of the Bay of Bengal, locally known as Shaplapata, are vital for conserving its biodiversity and the marine ecosystem, but it is now endangered due to its lucrative value on the market for the fishing community.
For the last 30 years, Md Rustom Ali Howladar, a fisherman from Porgola village of Pirojpur upazila in Bagerhat, has seen plenty of Shaplapata being captured by fishermen during his ventures to the sea.
“Fishermen usually plant fish-hooks along the seashore to catch the large Shaplapata and smaller ones are often caught easily with fishing nets,” Rustom Ali said.
The high price it fetches at markets in the coastal districts of Bagerhat, Barguna is the reason behind their interest in catching Shaplapata.
Recently, one weighing 400kg was sold for Tk 52,000 at a wholesale fish market in Bagerhat’s KB Bazar through open auction.
Given that the retail price per kg was Tk 300, the fish was sold to consumers at a total price of Tk 1,40,000 minimum, it is said.
“As there is a great demand for Shaplapata in the market and a typical large one can go for Tk 30-40,000 at the wholesale market, they are the big catch but even small ones are sold handsomely,” said some fishermen of the Bagerhat region.