Cuchia or scientifically Monopterous cuchia is a freshwater species of eels available in Bangladesh which English name Mud Eel had resulted from its innate nature of hiding itself under mud, but it is locally and popularly known as Cuchia. Though its external appearance is like a snake, actually it doesn't commensurate with any feature of a snake. It is typically found in the shallow area of freshwater resources like Haors, Baors, any Beels, Floodplains, Canal as well as small ponds, lakes and ditches. It is a delicious food among tribal and village people of Bangladesh. However, this species of eel is declining day by day due to sundry reasons exclusively for over-exploitation and climate change.
Cuchia is famous for its great taste as in conjunction with medicinal value. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals including A, D, E, B1, B2, B12 and phosphorous. These are greatly beneficial for our health as they increase the disease resistance capability of our body. Cuchia contains omega-3 fatty acid which assists to reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol and the risks of diabetes and arthritis. It has some specific health benefit for women such as easing menstrual pain, reducing wrinkles and improving the health of the skin, reducing the risks of breast cancer, Improving blood flow to the brain and possibly reducing the risk of dementia.
We have a great opportunity to export Cuchia at a large scale because it has a great demand in South Korea, China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia. Especially China is a big market of mud eel as it is supplied as a portion of delicious food in maximum restaurants in this country. But we haven't covered this demand at yet. So a lucrative path of Cuchia industry is open for us, all we need just start its culture widely.
Culturing Cuchia is neither so difficult nor so expensive. It requires a small area of land to culture. In 2012 Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) successfully developed induce breeding technique of Cuchia and produced fry of it to save it from being extinct as well as to expand its culture. Cuchia is a nocturnal and carnivorous species usually feed on small fish, crustacean and insect. For culturing purpose trash fish is used as their feed. Cuchia can be cultured with other fishes in poly-culture technique which adds additional income. The environment of Bangladesh is exclusively suitable for Cuchia culture so why we are lagged behind culturing it? So it is time to make a contribution to culture this black gem.
Al Nahian Avro, Noakhali Science and Technology University
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