22-day hilsa ban gets underway
A 22-day government ban on netting, selling, and transporting hilsa started at yesterday midnight.
A circular to this end has been issued recently.
The government has been imposing such bans every year since 2003-04 to protect mother hilsas. Fishermen and traders say the production of the mouth-watering fish increases every time the ban is properly implemented.
Md Abu Bakar Siddique, joint secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, said they hope to implement this year's ban in all the 177 upazilas of 37 districts where the fish is found.
The ban would end on October 29, he said.
“In the past, such bans resulted in increased production. Hopefully, we will be successful this year as well,” he told this newspaper over phone.
The decision to impose the ban was made to ensure safe spawning of hilsa during its peak breeding season, according to officials at District Fisheries Office in Barishal.
Mother hilsas start swimming upstream from the sea towards the rivers weeks before the Full Moon in October. They return to the sea after spawning, they said.
If anyone violates the ban the person will be fined and imprisoned, said Bimal Chandra Das, district fisheries officer in Barishal.
He said they have formed a committee to monitor the situation and that they will run mobile courts from today.
Meanwhile, yesterday, a day before the beginning of the ban, everyone at the Road hilsa wholesale market in Barishal passed busy time. Many traders were seen storing hilsas in ice boxes and freezers.
Nirob Hossain Tutul, secretary of Matsho Aratdar Shamiti at the market, said enough hilsas have been caught in the Kirtankhola, the Tetulia, the Arial Kha and the Meghna rivers in the last two weeks.
Traders said at least 500 maunds hilsa reached the market yesterday afternoon.
A kilogram of the fish was being sold for between Tk 700 and Tk 800.
Meanwhile, district fisheries office said hilsa production in Patuakhali has increased in the last five years.
Patuakhali District Fisheries Officer Md Iqbal said they had set up a production target of 40,000 tonnes of hilsa for the fiscal 2017-18.
In 2016-17, at least 36,000 tonnes of hilsa was produced in the district, he said.
The amount was 32,750 tonnes in 2015-16, 28,277 tonnes in 2014-15 and 25,000 tonnes in 2013-14, sources at the office said.
[Our Barishal and Patuakhali correspondents contributed to this report]