Fishermen offer special prayers on their boat at Char Wadel in Patuakhali yesterday following poor hilsa catch. Even though this is the peak of the season, their catch has been appalling spiraling hilsa prices in the kitchen market. Photo: Star
Despite being the peak season of hilsa, fishermen are getting frustrated due to poor catches of the popular fish in the coastal rivers.
Meanwhile, the prices of the fish have gone beyond purchasing capability of the common people due to its poor netting, report correspondents.
Belayet Hossain Gazi, a hilsa catcher of Char Hadi area under Dashmina upazila of Patuakhali district said he sold a hilsa at Tk 700 which he netted after four days of fishing in the Tentulia River yesterday.
We are passing hard days with my family of five due to poor hilsa netting, he said.
After the 8-month long ban on jakta netting was withdrawn on June 30, we started fishing but got no hilsa in the river, he said.
Abdur Rahman, another fisherman of the same area, said he was very frustrated as no hilsa was found at the peak season. Heavy rainfall is favourable for hisla netting but in vain, he added.
Md. Alamgir Hossain, a fisherman of Char Wadel under Baufal upazila, said that he caught only two hilsa in the last 10 days.
Siraj Majhi, a fisherman, arranged a doa mehfil on his fishing boat near his house at Char Wadel yesterday to pray to the Almighty for getting hilsa in the river.
“I passed 12 days on the river for hilsa but in vain,” he said.
Although the ongoing peak season sees serious crisis of hilsa in the southern region, hard-pressed fishermen on small boats continue efforts to catch the popular fish. The photo was taken from Tentulia River in Baufal upazila under Patuakhali district yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
Masum Bepari, a fish trader at Mohipur landing station in Kalapara, said hilas might have changed their courses due to ecological changes in the Bay and its adjacent rivers.
Md. Lokman ALi, chairman for Aqua Culture Department at Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU), said the main reason of hilsa crisis is the climate change.
Government should take some urgent steps in this regard such as dredging of different rivers where hilsa remains for full season.
Besides, industrial waste dumping must be stopped, he said.
Talking to the UNB, a number of fishermen in Khulna said hilsa is not being netted in good quantity in the coastal rivers as the fish is not much available there.
Sources said this time last year, some 20 to 30 trawlers loaded with hilsa came to KB Fish Landing Station, main hilsa selling centre of Bagerhat, every day.
But the picture is quite different this season due to poor catching of the fish.
Lulu Mollah, a trader at the fish landing station on the town protection embankment, said they are now getting only one to two maunds of hilsa against the daily demand of 500 maunds.
He added that the netted hilsa are also not good in size.
Sheikh Idris Ali, president of Upakulio Matsyajibi Samity, said fishermen are now facing financial hardship due to poor hilsa caches.
He said during this period in previous years, four to five truckloads of hilsa were sent to Jessore, Magura, Faridpur, Khulna, Rajshahi, Kaliganj, Jhenaidah and Kushtia from the fish landing station, adding that due to scantly supply, the fish can not be sent to the districts this year.
Besides, the fish export to India from the landing, station has registered a fall this year compared to the last year's for the same reason, said the fish trader.
While visiting the main fish markets in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira, this UNB orrespondent found hilsa traders passing very idle time.
Another fish trader Arup Kumar said the market price of hilsa is three times higher this year compared to the last year's.
The biggest size hilsa fish weighing more than one kg each sells at Tk 45,000-50,000 per maund while those were sold at between Tk 35,000 and 40,000 last year.
Small size hilsa fish equivalent to 700 grams sells at Tk 35,000 per maund while it was between Tk 15000-2000 last year, he said.