Egg-laying season has already arrived for the mother hilsa in Barishal region and to ensure their safety, the authorities concerned have taken necessary steps to prevent netting. According to the fisheries department, things are going smooth so far, with the mother fish laying more eggs than expected in rivers of the southern region.
Although exact figures are yet to arrive, officials said their expectations are being exceeded, with hilsa sanctuaries in spots around the Meghna river near Hatia, Bhola, and Mehendiganj seeing the best results.
Bimal Chandra Das, fisheries officer (hilsa) of Barishal, said after examining hilsa caught from the Kirtankhola last week, a huge number of eggs were found in the stomachs of almost all the mother fish.
"We think around 2-4 percent of the mothers have already laid their eggs. The numbers will pick up in time for the full moon," he said. They're hoping for around 55 to 60 percent of the hilsa to lay eggs this season because of favourable weather and strict government monitoring.
The mother hilsa have started laying eggs in all the rivers of Barishal region, especially in Meghna, Tetulia, Maskata, Kalabadar, Bishkhali, Arial Kha and Kirtankhola.
However, despite the strict ban on fishing, officials said some miscreants are violating the guidelines and netting hilsa.
Anisur Rahman Talukder, deputy director of the fisheries department, said some of the fish illegally caught by anglers were confiscated and examined, and almost all of them were bearing eggs.
The fisheries department in the region said they are dedicatedly guarding the rivers. So far, fishing nets worth Tk 56.30 lakh have been confiscated and destroyed, 10.87 tonnes of illegally caught hilsa have been seized, and 61 anglers have been jailed by 43 mobile courts in 115 operations.
Hilsa researcher Dr Md Anisur Rahaman, chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, Chandpur, said for favourable conditions, this year's total hatching may increase by up to 10 percent.