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Dublar Char abuzz with dried fish traders, workers

  • Our Correspondent
  • 7 November, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

KHULNA: Dublar Char in the Sundarbans, is known as Sutki Palli because every year fishermen and dried fish traders throng the area to catch and dry fish.

Thousands of families, workers and traders depend on this growing economic sector of Bangladesh

 With the start of the season of “Sutki” or dried fish, thousands of fishermen have spanned out across the Bay of Bengal around the Sundarbans with boats and nets to catch fish.

Workers and traders are already buzzing about Dublar Char, known as the Sutki Palli or Dried Fish Village after the authorities issued permits to fishermen to catch fish, bring them on Dublar Char and process them into dried fish, a delicacy in Bangladesh.

Similar hectic activities are also being reported from 13 other small islands where live fish is processed into dried one. Starting from November 1 the season will last until March 31.

There are fishermen who make the catch and sell it to the dried fish traders. The traders employ workers, many of them allegedly underage, to process the fish into Sutki and supply it to the markets mainly in Chattogram, where it is especially popular.

Different kinds of fish such as Loitta (bombay duck), Churi (knief fish) shrimp, pomfret, poa will be dried up and make ready for the market.

As many as 14,000 fishermen and traders (mohajon) gather at Dublar Char, Meher Ali Char, Alorkol, Office Killa, Majherkilla, Shelar Char, Narikelbaria, Choto Ambaria, Boro Ambaria, Manikkhali, Kabarkhali, Chaprakhali, Kokilmoni and Haldakhali chars every year. They live in makeshift huts on the islands for the entire season.

Fishermen from Khulna, Dakope, Rupsha, Paikgachha, Koyra, Bagerhat, Mongla, Sharankhola, Satkhira, Rampal, Morelganj, Tala, Shyamnagar, Ashashuni, Pirojpur and Barguna started arriving in Dublar Char from October 27 and arranged for their living.

Kamal Uddin, a fisherman of Rampal upazila in Bagerhat, said “The work in Sutki Polli is going on in full swing and we have got a variety of fish species like Loitta, pomfret, Churi and other varieties from Mara Ghona.”

Many fishermen have come here with borrowed money and if they fail to catch enough fish they have to count a huge loss, he said.

He said the forest department should allow them to start fishing from the beginning of October so they can earn enough to survive.

Kabir Ahmed, a dried fish trader of Betbunia in Paikgachcha upazila, said “I have come at Alorkol Char with 12 fishermen and we have brought everything including bamboo, bamboo sticks, wood and other things needed for making makeshift houses from our locality for living in the area for five months.”

The fishermen face shortage of pure drinking water as the sea water is saline and unfit for drinking. Besides, they brace for natural disasters and other difficulties.

“The only cyclone centre is in dilapidated condition,” Kabir said adding “If a cyclone comes we will not get a shelter.”

Kabir also demanded establishment of cyclone centres for the safety of the fishermen coming here during the dry season.

Monir Maruf, a fisherman of Aichgati in Rupsha, said the fish catch this time is comparatively poor than the previous year.

Mohammad Belayet Hossain, Divisional Forest Officer of Sundarbans East division, said “Already permits have been provided to the fishermen willing to go to the Sundarbans and some 14,000 fishermen will live in the char areas for fishing purpose. Besides, directives have been given to the fishermen not to destroy or cut any trees in Sundarbans.”

The forest officials will remain there to provide support to the fishermen, he said.

This year, the government has approved 950 houses and 65 depots for fishermen and traders for their accommodation, he said.