Hilsa is a gastronome's delight. But for fish traders, Ilish is gold.
And with the arrival of the Ilish season, the Chandpur Boro Bazar fisheries ghat, the district's largest wholesale Hilsa market, is once again buzzing with activity -- hundreds of people thronging to buy the prized catch every day.
But traders at this market rue the decline in Hilsa production in the Padma river -- they say this year's stock is mostly coming from Hatia, Noakhali and other coastal areas.
On Tuesday, this UNB correspondent visited the area and found a number of fishing trawlers and pickup vans at the market carrying Hilsa netted from the Hatia upazila.
“It is the peak Hilsa season. After a long time, we are seeing a booming supply at the market, though it's still low as compared to that of last year. But the catch is mostly from Hatia and not from the Padma," said Nurul Islam, a trader.
Traders claimed that some 2,000 mounds of the popular fish arrived at the market on Tuesday, but the supply was less than that of last year.
Manik Jamadar, president of the Chandpur Matsya Banik Samity, said, "The number of the Padma Hilsa is less this year as the fishermen have not been able to catch the desired 40-50 mounds from the river, which is not good news."
The poor supply from the Padma river has also been pushing up the prices of the Padma Hilsa -- the wholesale price is Tk 1,200 a kg and the retail price is Tk 1,300-1,400 a kg. A kg of the Hatia Hisla, on the other hand, costs Tk 1,000.
Traders from Sylhet, Habiganj, Sreemangal, Kishoreganj, Jamalpur, Mymensingh, and the national capital flock to this popular market to buy Hilsa every year.