The Kaptai Lake in Rangamati was once the breeding ground of carp fish but it has lost its uniqueness due to pollution over the past 20 years. Although the main purpose was to produce power, the lake has been playing a vital role in fisheries for decades. Whereas 1-1.5 lakh MT of fish are expected to be received from the lake every year, but at present only 10-15 thousand MT of fish are capturing from this large open water body. So, local people especially the tribal depending on the lake fishing for their livelihood before, are now searching for a different source of earning. To restore and conserve existing biodiversity through a proper scientific expedition, Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) launched a research vessel in the Kaptai Lake on 28th November 2019, which is the first of its kind in Bangladesh. Findings of the research conducting on this vessel will help to trace out the causes for carp fish disappearance, finding a way to bring them back and build the lake as a fish sanctuary by increasing fish breeding with a hospitable environment through lake management. Not only that, Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who inaugurated the vessel also said, “This wonderful initiative will help in increasing fish production in the Chattogram Hill Tracts region which will also create new employment opportunities for the local population.”
The inauguration of the research vessel has made a new milestone revealed inauguration the field of higher education in Bangladesh. The cost of the project is around BDT 3.76 crore. The vessel is well equipped with three modern laboratories named as Disease Lab, Ecology Lab, Fishing Technology and Bathymetry Lab and some temporal living facilities for the onboard research activities. About twelve researchers, including CVASU teachers, MS and PhD level students, will be able to work there as well as researchers from other universities and even from abroad will get the opportunity to access and use the facilities upon permission.
Again, this specialized vessel is developed for a wider research purpose where the fifteen most promising research topics include: assessment on different species of fish in the lake, selection of sites for fish sanctuaries, analysis of various physical and chemical changes in the lake over time, efforts to recover the endangered fish species, finding potential cultivable fish species in the lake, determining the actual condition of different fish breeding grounds, analysis of the causes and recommending preventive steps, the involvement of local manpower in fish farming through the cage and pen culture, verifying the advantages and disadvantages of fish farming in Ghona, determining the current state of natural food expansion in the lake for fish, determining what needs to do to increase natural food production, revealing the factors responsible for lake filling, analyzing and taking initiatives to determine and eliminate pollution of the lake. Furthermore, still there present lots of opportunities on this vessel for the betterment of fisheries research in the upcoming future. This remarkable action is expected to bring about a breakthrough in CVASU education and research.