11-day hilsa catching ban from Oct 5
The government has imposed an 11-day ban on netting, sales and transportation of hilsa across the country from October 5 to ensure safe spawning of the popular fish during the peak breeding period.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister Muhammed Sayedul Hoque made the announcement yesterday while talking to reporters before a meeting on preservation of hilsa at Mathsaya Bhaban in the capital.
Representatives of different agencies including navy, coastguard, police and Rab were present in the meeting, said sources.
Law-enforcing agencies were given directions regarding the ban, sources added.
The government has been imposing similar bans to protect the mother fishes since the 2003-04.
The production of the fish has doubled in the last one decade, reaching 3.85 lakh metric tons in 2013-14 from two lakh metric tons in 2003-04, according to fisheries ministry sources.
The production increased after imposing the bans on catching jatka (hilsa fry) too.
This year, the 11-day ban would also be imposed on catching all sorts of fishes in 14 districts along with four spawning grounds, the source added.
The spawning grounds are Kalirchar of Sandwip, Dhalerchar and Moulavichar of Hatia and Charfashion of Bhola.
Since hilsa lay eggs in plenty during this period (Ashwin-Kartik, five days before and after of Baro Purnima), the government imposed the ban on catching it at the four points of the coastal area.
“For the last four years, we have been imposing the ban very strictly and this is really increasing the production of hisla,” said Masud Ara Momi, assistant director of Jatka Conservation Project.
In 2010-11 the production of hilsa was 3.4 lakh metric tons, it was 3.46 metric tons in 2011-12 and last year the production reached 3.85 metric tons, she said.
Hilsa fish has been facing many challenges for a last few years in the country's rivers because of water pollution and increasing salinity, say experts.
Hilsa breeding and migration grounds are shrinking in Bangladesh and hilsa eggs and small fries cannot survive in salty water because their chloride cell does not develop during their stay in it, they opined.
The fish was totally wiped out from 1,500-2,000km stretch of river including the Feni, Matamuhuri, upper Karnaphuli, Dhaleshawari, Kaliganga, Shitalakkhya, Dhanu, Chitra and Gorai rivers, said Department of Fishing sources.
In the Padma, Kalinadi, Madhumati, Arialkha, Kumar, Bhairab, Mahananda and Hurasagar rivers, the fish is nearly extinct. Even two decades ago, fishermen would have a huge catch of hilsa in these rivers.