The fishing community of Cox’s Bazar is very happy with business catching Hilsa in swarms. Fishing trawlers are returning to the shore full of Hilsa and other fish, bringing down the prices to a tolerable level. Once deserted fish warehouses and markets of the district are now buzzing with fishermen, traders, and buyers from morning to night. Visiting Cox’s Bazar Fisheries Landing Station, UNB found the place in a celebratory mood. After the onslaught of Cyclone Sitrang and a 22-day ban on Hilsa catching, hundreds of fishing trawlers are arriving at the station with tons of Hilsa every day. Read More: With Hilsa catch declining, Bagerhat fishermen stare at penury No one seems to have time for doing anything else at the landing station. Some were loading the fish into warehouses, some were breaking ice while others were arranging the fishes in baskets. Many traders were also seen sending truckloads of Hilsa consignments to different parts of the country after getting expected prices.
Hilsa catching, selling and transportation resumed on Saturday after a government ban for 22 days. A total of 600 maunds of Hilsa came to Chandpur’s Bara Station Fish Ghat, the biggest Hilsa market of the country, from Hatia, Bhola, Charfasion and other coastal areas on trawlers and ships since this morning, A Bari Jamadar Manik, President of the Chandpur Fisheries Association, told UNB Chandour correspondent. Besides, Hilsa from the confluence of the Padma and the Meghna rivers in Chandpur also arrived at the market in small amounts. Visiting the market, UNB found that most of the Hilsa weighted 800 g to 900 g. A 900g Hilsa fish was selling at Tk 900, while 1kg and 2kg Hilsa were selling at a rate of Tk 1,100 to Tk 1,500. Many people were seen buying fresh Hilsa and sending them off to various places across the country. “I’m taking around 50-60 maunds of Hilsa to Jamalpur via Karwan Bazar, Tongi, Baipail and Gazipur on my truck,” said Azizul Haque, a truck driver. The 22-day government ban on hilsa catching, selling, hoarding and transporting came into effect on October 7, with a view to boosting its production. The ban covered hilsa sanctuaries in six districts -- Barishal, Chandpur, Laxmipur, Bhola, Shariatpur and Patuakhali. During the ban, around 50,000 fishermen remained unemployed and were allocated 25kg of rice each, which was not enough for them, said local fishers. Read: Chandpur fishermen gear up to catch hilsa as ban ends on Friday midnight Taukir Ahmed, an official from the control room of the district fisheries office, said around 212 fishermen were sent to jail during the ban period in 178 cases. Besides, 41,855 metres of current nets were seized and destroyed, said head of Chandpur Naval Police Mohammad Kamruzzaman. Hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh, is recognised as a certified patented product of Bangladesh. The marine fish goes to rivers in Bangladesh to lay eggs. The fish is very popular both in Bangladesh and West Bengal. About 75 per cent of the world's hilsa is netted in Bangladesh. Chandpur is considered one of the largest trading hubs of hilsa in Bangladesh as the fish from the Padma river is much more popular than the ones that come from other rivers. Nearly 6 lakh people of Bangladesh are involved in catching hilsa directly while 20-25 lakh people are involved in transporting, selling and other activities indirectly. Thanks to government initiatives, production of hilsa has increased to 5.65 lakh metric tonnes in 2020-21 fiscal year while it was 2.98 lakh metric tonnes in 2008-09 FY. Last year, nearly 51.76 percent of mother hilsa were able to lay eggs during the ban period, boosting production and hilsa export to India.
A mobile court on Tuesday sentenced eight fishermen to 14 days in jail each, for catching the much-coveted Hilsa fish in defiance of a temporary, three-week ban imposed by the government – itself aimed at replenishing Hilsa stocks and making livelihoods around its survival more sustainable. the Padma and Meghan rivers in the district. The court led by Hajiganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Rashedul Islam also released two minor boys after taking a bond from their family in this connection, ARM Jahid Hasan, executive magistrate of the district administration, told reporters. The convicts are Mohammad Jahangir, Yakub Bepari, Nurul Islam, Golam Mostafa, Md Rubel, Mahbub Bepari, Sajal Chandra Das and Nazrul Islam. Read: Banned fishing nets worth over Tk 9 cr seized in Chandpur Magistrate Jahid Hasan said a joint team comprising members of the district fisheries office, river police and the Coast Guard conducted raids in different spots of the Padma and Meghna rivers, both sanctuaries of the King of Fish, as Hilsa is known throughout Bengal, including India’s West Bengal. Eventually police detained 10 individuals who were caught red-handed in the act of fishing with current nets. Some 10,000 metres of fishing nets and an engine-run boat were also seized during the drive, he said, adding that the nets were later burnt. Besides, illegally caught fish weighing over 13kg were distributed among the distressed and orphans, added the magistrate.
When it comes to hilsa, the general rule is that you pay less during the rainy season than in winter. But this year, even the incessant rains have failed to cool off the prices of the monsoon delicacy, at least in Khulna. In simple words, the gastronome's delight is no longer within the reach of the common people. Officials attribute the sky high prices of hilsa to spiralling fuel rates and hoarding by unscrupulous fish traders. Read Hilsa Ilisha: The National Fish and Silver Pride of Bangladesh "The fishermen are reeling under the impact of spiralling prices of diesel that they need to run their trawlers. Also, those hoarding the fish in refrigerators are responsible for pushing up the prices of ilish," Joydeb Pal, the district fisheries officer, told UNB. Agreed fishers. "The trawlers we use for fishing, and the trucks and mini trucks used for transportation are all diesel driven. So, the fuel price hike has directly impacted us," said Belayet Mir a fisherman from Barguna. Some fish traders, however, claimed that the prices of hilsa have gone up in the wake of the government giving 49 business units permission to export 2,400 metric tonnes of hilsa to India for the upcoming Durga puja. Read: With Hilsa catch declining, Bagerhat fishermen stare at penury Sheikh Saidul Islam, a fish trader, said, “Due to the government’s multipurpose plan, the production of hilsa has increased. But its prices vary as per the market demand."
The fishing community in Bagerhat is at its wit's end. From fishermen to traders, all are worried that the reign of the Hilsa may soon be over due to their Indian counterparts who enter Bangladeshi waters to net at the confluence of two prominent rivers -- the Pashur and the Baleshwar -- in the Bay of Bengal. This netting at the confluence is hampering the movement of the 'king of fish' that travels from the sea to the sweet river waters, according to Bagerhat fishermen. Read Hilsa Ilisha: The National Fish and Silver Pride of Bangladesh "Many of us just can't afford to venture into the sea for fishing and rely on the rivers for our livelihoods. But netting of the fecund fish at the conference of the two rivers by our Indian counterparts leaves us worried," a local fisherman said. In fact, this has hit the entire supply chain -- there's not enough supply of the Hilsa in the wholesale markets of the district. "For long, we have been demanding a ban on fishing at the conference of the rivers so that the 'king of fish' can move and breed freely in the many rivers of Bagerhat," he added. READ: 2-month ban on hilsa fishing, selling begins Tuesday
Hilsa, the gastronome's delight, may soon be within the reach of the common people in Bangladesh, if the government is to be believed. According to the fisheries and livestock minister SM Rezaul Karim, the Bangladesh government is trying its best to bring the prices of hilsa down in the country by taking measures to boost production. “The government is working relentlessly to not only cater to the domestic demand but also earning foreign exchange through hilsa exports," he told reporters at a briefing on the occasion of ‘Jatka Conservation Week-2022’ at the Secretariat. Read: Hilsha selling like hot cake in wholesale market Like every year, the government will observe ‘Jatka Conservation Week-2022’ from March 31 to April 6, aiming to create mass awareness on preservation to boost the overall hilsa production, he said. “The importance of hilsa is immense in meeting the nutrition 'needs' of people, creating employment opportunities, keeping the wheels of the economy active and in the financial-social development. Of the total fish production in the country, 12.22 per cent is hilsa,” he added.
The government has ensured alternative jobs and food support for fishermen during the period when hilsa catching remains banned, said Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim on Monday. He was speaking at a workshop at a hotel in the city. He defended the ban during hilsa breeding period as logical, scientific and realistic. He said besides providing support under VGF programme the government also mulls providing rickshaw, van, livestock and poultry to the fishers affected due to the ban. Rezaul said the scientific production of hilsa can be raised up to 8.5 metric tonnes a year due to a number of measures taken by the government. Rezaul also stressed the need for developing a sanctuary for hilsa breeding as river pollution may affect the production. READ: Covid positive former fisheries minister Narayan Chandra hospitalised Talking about the Fisheries Act, the minister said the government has enacted the law so no one from the neighbouring countries can catch fish in Bangladesh waters. A proposal was also made to declare 50 km area of Baleshwar River and its estuary and 348 square Km area as breeding zone for hilsa and it will be the fifth breeding zone in the country. The area includes Bagi port of Sharankhola upazila of Bagerhat district to Pakkhir Char point and Sapleza of Mathbaria upazila in Pirojpur to Lebue Bagan of Kalapara upazila in Patuakhali district. The breeding zone will help to create a sanctuary as well as boost hilsa production in the country, he added. READ: Fisheries Minister warns against corruption amid Covid-19 pandemic High officials of the ministry, university teachers, deputy commissioner concerned, representatives of fishermen were present at the event.
Actress Pori Moni and her husband 'No Dorai' famed Dhallywood actor Sariful Raaz were spotted hanging out at the most hyped place 'Mawa Ghat' for enjoying 'hilsa' fish in the early hours of Thursday. Pori Moni has posted some pictures of different moments of Mawa tour on social media. Read: Pori Moni-Raaz announces pregnancy She told the media about their Mawa tour, "Raaz and I were quite feeling suffocated at home. So, I made a plan to go to Mawa in a hurry with some family friends." "Raaz was also very happy. And after a long time I ate hilsa fish at Mawa." Pori Moni and Raaz were in home isolation for a long time due to fever and cold. And so, they could not take part in the shooting. Pori Moni was not even seen in the recent Film Artistes Association election. Pori Moni loves to hang out at night. Whenever she manages time, she gets out with her car. "But now, I can't roam like before due to pregnancy,'' she said. Read: Pori Moni appeals to HC for quashing charges under narcotic case Pori Moni announced that she is expecting her first child with actor Sariful Raaz on their Facebook profiles on January 10. The couple fell in love on the set of noted director Giasuddin Selim's upcoming film 'Gunin'. The actress has recently confirmed that the two got married secretly on October 17 last year.
The 22-day ban on catching hilsa is expected to yield a very good result as huge mother-hilsas have laid eggs during the period. Experts said the hilsa production may hit 5.45 lakh metric tonnes if the government takes effective measures for conserving jatka (Hilsa fry). Dr Mohammad Anisur Rahman, a hilsa researcher and chief scientific officer at the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, said, “Hilsas lay eggs round the year but mother hilsas come to rivers from sea and lay eggs during the ban period and then go back to the sea. So, it’s very important to ensure the uninterrupted movement of mother hilsas from the sea to rivers.” Read: Coast guards seize 6.38 cr meters nets, 9,832 kgs Hilsa during ban period “During the breeding period, a mother hilsa usually releases 10-12 lakh eggs and this year, the new moon on the lunar phase occurred on October 6 while the full moon appeared on October 20 which is believed to be the right time of laying eggs. So, we’re getting the results from the ban,” he said. Dr Anisur also suggested taking steps to ensure the uninterrupted movement of mother hilsas from the sea to rivers and their safe spawning during the peak breeding season, stopping sand lifting from rivers and restricting hilsa netting during the ban period. According to a survey, this year 51.7 percent of mother hilsas laid eggs, setting a new record as it is .5% more than the previous year, he said. Read Hilsa Ilisha: The National Fish and Silver Pride of Bangladesh
Members of Bangladesh Coast Guard seized around 6.38 crore meters of illegal nets, 9,832 kgs of Hilsa and 115 boats from the coastal areas and different rivers during the 22-day ban on Hilsa netting that ended Monday midnight. The ban was imposed from October 4 to October 25 midnight as part of 'Mother Hilsa Conservation Campaign-2021' to ensure safe spawning of the popular fish during its peak breeding period. Lt. Khandaker Munif Taki, media officer at the Bangladesh Coast Guard headquarters on Tuesday said a total of 3,049 drives were conducted during the period and 256 fishermen detained for catching Hilsa illegally. Read: Kitchen markets in Dhaka take the heat from 22-day Hilsa ban He said that the seized nets were burnt in the presence of local administration, members of law enforcement agencies and fisheries officials and the seized Hilsa were distributed among local orphanages and the poor. Besides, the detained fishermen were sentenced to different jail terms and fined through mobile courts. Hilsa has the highest contribution to the country's fish production, which contributes to more than 12.09% of the country's fish production. The production of the fish has gone up by 159.76% in the last 15 years. Read: 22-day ban on Hilsa fishing begins Sunday midnight The government also imposes ban on catching hilsa during March-April to help the Hilsa fry grow and return to sea. Hilisa production jumped from 300,000 tons in 2008-09 to 500,000 tons in 2017-18. In the last financial year, 550,000 tons of Hilsa were caught in the country, according to the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry.