A survey of the importance of fish disease to 257 farmers from six districts in Bangladesh was carried out during September 1999. The farmers interviewed were selected from a general baseline study of 2,500 farmers who were about to undergo training with the Fisheries Training and Extension Project - Phase II (FTEP-II). FTEP-II is a bilateral aid project between the governments of the United Kingdom (Department for International Development, DFID) and the Department of Fisheries (DoF) of the Government of Bangladesh. The primary stakeholders of the FTEP-II project are poor and carry out \"low input, carp polyculture.\"
The interviewed farmers were capable of identifying, at most, nine major causes of fish death in their ponds. The most common causes of death were a \"red spot\" disease referred to as EUS (epizootic ulcerative syndrome), \"fin/gill rot,\" \"air gulping\" and \"cotton fungus.\" No laboratory diagnosis of these diseases was possible. In terms of constraints to production, the majority of farmers did not think that fish disease was important. Rather, they identified issues such as \"lack of personal knowledge of fish pond management,\" \"credit and financial problems\" and \"fry/fingerling supply\" as being more important.
The effect of fish disease on the farmers' ponds and livelihoods was limited. Fish seldom died off all at once, and 47% of farmers were able to either eat or sell the dead fish. Most farmers turned to other farmers for advice when disease occurred in their ponds but had a limited range of treatments, with potassium permanganate being the most popular (although most farmers simply harvested all the fish). In terms of financial loss, only 4% of the farmers said fish disease losses were \"big and unacceptable.\" Average Losses were estimated as 3% of total \"on-farm\" income, and equal to around US$31 per year.
Although fish mortality is clearly a problem for a few farmers (
Brown, D.; Brooks, A. A survey of disease impact and awareness in pond aquaculture in Bangladesh, the Fisheries Training and Extension Project - Phase II. In: Arthur, J.R.; Phillips, M.J.; Subasinghe, R.P.; Reantaso, M.B.; MacRae I.H. (Editors) Primary Aquatic Animal Health Care in Rural, Small-scale, Aquaculture Development. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 406. FAO, Rome, Italy (2002) 85-93.