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Hilsa production may get a boost

50pc mother hilsa lay eggs; 22-day ban on fishing ends

  • ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman
  • 26 October, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Hilsa production may get a boost

Production of hilsa is likely to get a boost this year as around 50 percent of mother hilsa have so far laid eggs thanks to a 22-day ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting the national fish.

The ban, which came into effect on October 4 to ensure safe spawning of hilsa during its peak breeding period, ended on Monday midnight.

Senior Scientific Officer at Chandpur riverine station of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) Dr M Anisur Rahman told the Daily Sun that the percentage of released eggs should reach 50 percent as huge mother hilsa laid eggs during the ban.

“The number of egg releases was lower in the first 3-4 days due to an adverse weather. However, drizzling and rain turned the weather favourable for hilsa to release eggs and a huge number of mother hilsa came to rivers and coastal areas this year and laid huge eggs,” he said.

Anisur said a mother hilsa approximately releases minimum 10-12 lakh to highest 21-25 lakh eggs. “If 50 percent of the eggs could be fertilised, 10 percent juvenile hilsa will be produced.”

If the 10 percent of juvenile hilsa could be saved from netting, it will be possible to get 42,000 crore juvenile hilsa which will boost the overall hilsa production. Last year, about 51.2 percent of mother hilsa released eggs, increasing the gross production of juvenile hilsa. The egg releasing rate was 47 percent in 2018 and 41 percent in 2019.

Hilsa move from coastal areas to the Padma, Meghna and other branches of the rivers to lay eggs around the first full moon of the Bangla month of Ashwin.

In the past few years, the fishing ban played an important role in boosting hilsa production and fishermen caught huge hilsa this year and the last couple of years.

Anisur said huge hilsa have travelled to Kushtia, Pabna, Sirajganj, Rajshahi and other upstream areas this year due to the ban and huge currents and water flow of the rivers.

He said they are compiling the egg-releasing rate and they will soon announce the outcome.

Meanwhile, fishermen started catching hilsa from Monday night as the 22-day ban was lifted.

The production of hilsa was 5.5 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 fiscal year and 5.33 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 financial year.

Country’s hilsa production has increased by around 150 percent in the last 15 years due to various initiatives taken by the government, including a ban on fishing and livelihood support for the fishermen.

The hilsa production increased from 199,032 tonnes in 2002-03 to 496,417 tonnes in 2016-17.

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

Of total hilsa production, 217,469 tonnes (43.81pc) came from inland and 278,948 tonnes (56.19pc) from marine catches, according to the Fisheries Statistical Report of Bangladesh 2016-17.