Hilsa, despite being the national fish of Bangladesh, is mostly out of low-income people's reach, but they can savour the delectable taste of dried, salted hilsa as it is becoming popular in northern parts of the country due to its affordable price. Every year, the workers at Chandpur Boro Station Fisheries Ghat process the unsold hilsa fish. They are now busy cutting up the fish and putting salt in them. Dried salted hilsa or "nona ilish" is catching on in Mymensingh, Tangail, Kurigram, Sherpur and Manikganj districts, and demand is consistently up. 22-day ban on hilsa fishing begins tomorrow At the fisheries ghat, many hilsa remain unsold as they go soft during the season. Some traders purchase these at average price and process them with salt. The dried salted fish are sold at Tk 900-1200 per kg. The workers also separate the eggs from the fish, and the eggs are sold at Tk 2500-2600 per kg. Last year, per kg hilsa eggs were sold at Tk 1400. 173 tonnes of Hilsa exported to India in 3 days through Benapole port Ramjan Bepari, a trader, said that he has been running his business for the past 30 years and every year, he comes from Mymensingh during the hilsa season and lives in the area. He bought unsold hilsa, weighing between 700 and 1000 grams, from the wholesale market at a cost of Tk 700 to 800 per kg. This year, he set a target to process 3000-3500 maunds of hilsa. This dried salted hilsa will remain edible for the next six months, he claimed. Like Ramjan, many traders, including Anwar Hossain, Zakir Hossain and Chari Gazi, have come to Chandpur for the same purpose. Some 100 women and 150 men are involved in processing hilsa fish. They are happy with the daily wages they get. Delay ban on catching hilsa by a month: Barishal fishing community Dr Anisur Rahman, a renowned hilsa expert at the Fisheries Research Institute in Chandpur, said that hilsa can be preserved with salt for six months. Hilsa eggs can also be preserved the same way through ensuring the right temperature in the refrigerator. Some 25-30 lakh people are now involved in processing hilsa fish, and they are earning profits.
The government of Bangladesh is going to impose a 22-day ban on hilsa fishing from tomorrow (October 12). Hilsa catching, selling and transportation will remain prohibited during the period to ensure the safe spawning of the national fish of Bangladesh during its peak breeding period. The ban will remain in place till November 2. On September 20, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim announced the 22-day ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting hilsa at a meeting of the National Task Force Committee on Hilsa Resource Development at the conference room of the Fisheries Department at Matsya Bhaban in Dhaka. Delay ban on catching hilsa by a month: Barishal fishing community The objective of the restrictions on fishing is to protect the mother hilsa which lay eggs during the period, he said. Hilsa makes the highest contribution to the country’s fish output as a single fish species. Recognized as a certified patented product of Bangladesh, the fish swim to rivers to lay eggs. Hilsa is very popular both in Bangladesh and West Bengal in India. About 75 percent of the world's hilsa is netted in Bangladesh. Govt allows 3,950 tonnes of Hilsa export to India ahead of Durga Puja Chandpur is considered one of the largest trading hubs of hilsa in Bangladesh as the fish from the Padma River is more popular than the ones that come from other rivers because of its distinct taste. 22-day ban on hilsa fishing to begin on Oct 12: Fisheries Minister
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."
Hilsa has become the king of fish due to its incomparable taste, smell, and nutritious oil. The most interesting thing is that Hilsa does not have a permanent address. Hilsa fish is locally called 'Ilish' and its scientific name is 'Tenualosa Ilisha'. These are migratory fish, sometimes also called international fish. Hilsa roams the oceans of the world under various names. But Bangladesh produces around 86% of the world's Hilsa. And Padma's Hilsa, the universally tasty Ilish is our pride. Bangladesh has given the status of national fish to Hilsa. Furthermore, the recognition as Geographical Indication (GI) product of Bangladesh, Hilsa is now on the menu in different countries as Bangladeshi food. History of Hilsa Ilisha The exact history of Hilsa is unknown. Even though there are much bigger fish than hilsa, it is the king of fish. It is said that hilsa has been roaming freely in the ocean since ancient times. Hilsa's wandering is also quite interesting, from the saltwater of the sea to the freshwater of the river. From there, back to the saltwater of the sea. During the breeding season or during the egg-laying season, the male and female hilsa flock out to sea for a favorable environment. Eggs are laid in the freshwater of the river. The baby hilsa grows in fresh water and gradually gets ready to go to the ocean. Hilsa swims in the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Java Sea, South China Sea, Tonkin Bay, West, and Central Pacific Ocean. The British researcher Hamilton Buchanan named it Hilsa in 1882 while researching fish in the Bay of Bengal. Later, two researchers named Fischer and Bionic classified Hilsa as 'Tenualosa.' Tenualosa is found in five species in the world. Of which three species match in Bangladesh. Hilsa (T-Ilsha), Chandana Hilsa (T-Tolly), and Gupta Hilsa (H-Ki-Li). Among them, Hilsa found in the Padma is world-famous. Read ‘Hilsa export not on the cards now’ What is special in Hilsa Fish? This fish is excellent in taste and smell. Also rich in food quality. It contains high levels of carbs, fats, and minerals as well as omega-three fatty acids, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, D, B. Hilsa is characterized by a silver torpedo-shaped fish. There is a slight blackness on the back. Baby hilsa has lined spots on the body. Hilsa takes eight months to a year to mature after hatching from eggs. Mature hilsa can grow to a maximum length of 63 cm or more than two feet and weigh a maximum of three / three and a half kg. However, usually, the fish is caught in the net before it reaches 2 kg. At present Hilsa is found in about 100 rivers of Bangladesh. In particular, the main rivers of the Padma and Meghna basins, its tributaries, bays, and coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal are home to Hilsa. Read Govt to consult experts to boost Hilsa production: Dipu Moni Prospect of Hilsa Fish for Bangladesh Hilsa is found all year round in the lower reaches of the Meghna River at Kalabadar, Tertulia, Arial Kha, as well as at Bishkhali, Payra, Rupsha, Shiba, Pashur, Lohadia, Andharamanik rivers, bays, and seashores. In addition, the availability of hilsa in the Padma has increased due to the establishment of a hilsa sanctuary in the lower reaches of the Padma and the ban on netting hilsa on certain days of the year. Over the years, hilsa production has increased significantly. Hence it contributes to the country's economy greatly. Hilsa contributes 1% to the gross domestic product (GDP). About 5 lakh people are directly involved in hilsa, and 20 to 25 lakh people are directly or indirectly involved, according to the Fisheries Department. In 2016, Hilsa of Bangladesh had been recognized as a GI (Geographical Indication) product. Read Hilsa prices rise as catch from the Padma dries up It is difficult to get accurate information about the quantity of hilsa export. According to the Department of Fisheries, out of 75,000 tons of fish and fish products exported from Bangladesh every year and among those 24,000 tons are frozen fish. It can be assumed that most of these frozen fish are hilsa fish.
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. Read ‘Hilsa export not on the cards now’ 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. Also Read- Hilsa fishing resumes as two-month ban ends 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. Also read: Hilsa dearer in Khulna Traders from Sylhet, Habiganj, Sreemangal, Kishoreganj, Jamalpur, Mymensingh, and the national capital flock to this popular market to buy Hilsa every year.
A 22-day ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting hilsa will come into effect from Tuesday midnight with a view to boost its production by ensuring safe breeding through protection of mother hilsa. The ban will remain effective until November 4.
A 22-day ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting of hilsa will come into effect from October 14 to protect Hilsa with eggs. The ban will be effective until November 4, said a handout from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock on Thursday. This is the peak period when hilsas release eggs. Hilsa has the highest contribution in the country's fish production, the government says. It contributes to more than 12.09 percent to the country's fish production.
Fishermen here are set to start catching Hilsa early Friday after a two-month ban on catching, selling and transporting of the national fish ends.