Saturday, 4 December, 2021

Kitchen markets in Dhaka take the heat from 22-day Hilsa ban

Kitchen markets in Dhaka saw huge crowds of Hilsa lovers on Sunday evening as they rushed to buy the delicious fish ahead of a 22-day ban on its catching, selling, hoarding and transporting.

Many of the customers, however, retuned home empty as most of the sellers of the popular fish ran out of their stocks by 10 PM due to its high demand and supply crunch.

Talking to journalists, some Hilsa traders at Karwan Bazar said this season saw its higher prices due to its short supply and large volumes of export.

“The demand was very high, even well before the restriction period, due to the short supply,” said Kamrul Hasan, a fish trader.

The government has given a go-ahead to 52 companies to export 2,080 tonnes of Hilsa to India by October 10, ahead of Durga Puja, the largest festival of the Hindu community.

The government had banned the Hilsa export to India in 2012 but it approved the export of 500 tonnes of the fish in 2019 and 475 tonnes in 2020.

The 22-day Hilsa ban took effect on Sunday midnight as it is aimed at ensuring the safe spawning of the popular fish during its peak breeding period. The ban will remain in place till October 25.

Fisheries Department, upazila and district administrations, police and coast guard personnel will carry out regular drives to make sure that the ban is implemented strictly.

Aminul Islam, district fisheries officer of Laxmipur, told UNB that there are around 52,000 fishermen in his district and 3,000 of them are registered.

They will get around 40 kg food aid as compensation during this restriction period, he said.

Meanwhile, the district administration was seen campaigning along riversides to make the fishermen aware about the importance of the government decision.

On Sunday, Raunak Mahmud, secretary of the fisheries and livestock ministry , said some 1,118.068 metric tons of VGF rice has been allocated for 555,944  fishermen families in 36 districts where the  ban on selling and fishing Hilsa will be enforced.

According to Protection and Conservation of Fish Rules, 1985, fishermen not abiding by the ban can be punished with a minimum of 1 to maximum of 2 years’ rigorous imprisonment or be fined up to TK 5,000.