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Hilsa sale gears up ahead of fishing ban

  • ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman
  • 24 September, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Hilsa sale gears up ahead of fishing ban
Traders put on display hilsa at Fisherygaht New Fish Market in the port city of Chattogram on Thursday. A 22-day ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting of the silver crop will begin on October 4 to protect mother hilsa. - Rabin chowdhury

Sale of Hilsa has gained momentum across the country as consumers started swarming to the fish markets to buy this delicious fish ahead of the 22-day ban on catching, selling, storing and transporting Hilsa.

Fishermen have been netting huge quantities of Hilsa from different rivers estuary including the Bay-of-Bengal in the last few weeks, pocketing good profits. The price of Hilsa has also dropped due to huge netting this peak fishing season.

The government has imposed a 22-day ban on catching, selling, storing and transporting Hilsa from October 4 to 25, to ensure safe spawning of the national fish during its peak breeding period.

Due to the ban of Hilsa, fishermen and traders are selling the fish at competitive prices, ultimately benefiting the customers. 

Dr M Anisur Rahman, senior scientific officer at Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI), told the Daily Sun that large quantities of Hilsa have started to swim toward freshwater from the sea from August and September in most river estuaries of the country.

“We witnessed a huge quantity of Hilsa in Chandpur land port recent times as fishermen have been netting good quantity of Hilsa since September 18-19. September 21 was the full moon, the quantity of Hilsa increased in the river 4-5 days before the full moon,” he said.

The scientist projected that Hilsa production will increase to 5.5 lakh tonnes this year. The production of Hilsa was 5.5 lakh tonnes in FY 2020-21 and 5.33 lakh tonnes in FY 2019-20.

Fishermen of Chandpur, Barishal, Bhola, Chittagong and other coastal areas are pocketing good profits, as a good number of the fish are being netted in abundant numbers in river estuaries.

 “Balanced sizes of Hilsa has witnessed in the fishing boats and this is a good sign of the growth of the fish,” said M Anisur Rahman.

On Thursday last, a Hilsa weighing 1.5 kg was selling at Tk 1600 per kg, one kg at Tk 1,000-1,200 per kg, a 700-gram one was selling at Tk 700, 600 gram at Tk 700 per piece and a 500 gram at Tk 400 per piece at Mohammadpur Krishi Market in the capital.

The price is, however, changing every day.

Rafiqul Islam, a customer visiting the Mohammadpur Krishi Market told the Daily Sun that he usually waits for this peak time of Hilsa netting when the supply risers and prices drop.

“I have bought 10 Hilsa weighing about 900 gram each, four Hilsa weighing around 1 kg each on Thursday. Earlier on Sunday, I bought six Hilsa weighing about 600 grams each,” he said, adding that Hilsa price has also declined slightly.

Munna, a Hilsa trader at Mohammadpur Krishi Market, said the supply of the Hilsa fish has increased in the last three-four days, causing a drop in its price.

The country’s Hilsa production has increased by around 150 per cent in last 15 years due to the government’s initiatives which include livelihoods support for the fishermen and a temporal ban on fishing and Hilsa production.

Hilsa production has increased from 199,032 tonnes in 2002-03 to 496,417 tons in 2016-17.

According to government data, production of the silver fish stood at 517,000 tons in 2017-18, up from 279,189 tons in 2006-07. In 2014-2015 the production was 387,211 tonnes.

Among total Hilsa production, 217,469 tons (43.81 per cent) came from inland and 278,948 tonnes (56.19 per cent) came from marine catches, according to the Fisheries Statistical Report of Bangladesh 2016-17.