The national fish is typically not associated with winter, but this year, large hilsa fish are being netted from the rivers of Barishal, and wholesale markets of the district are buzzing.
At Port Road’s fish market, there were at least thousand mounds of large hilsa. Fishermen and traders were busy negotiating the price, which is cheaper this year due to the high availability.
Traders are sending the fish to Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna and other areas in trucks. The people of Barishal are elated to find the delicious fish at cheap prices. Fishermen said the fish weigh 700-1200 grammes on average. “Usually large hilsa cannot be found during winter, but this time we are netting many,” said a fisherman.
According to fishermen, many hilsa are being caught from different southern rivers of the division, especially Elisha and Meghna.
Port Road’s wholesale hilsa market trader Ujjal Das said there has been a steady supply of large hilsa for the last three days. “If the fish weighs over a kilogramme, it’s sold for Tk 800, and fish weighing lower is sold for Tk 650-700. Last year the prices were Tk 1,200 and Tk 800 respectively,” said Ujjal.
Anishur Rahman, hilsa researcher and chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) river centre in Chandpur, said the primary hilsa season is between August and October, but there’s a short season from November to January. “The government’s effort to protect jatka (hilsa fry) and ensuring its safe breeding has resulted in the availability of the fish during winter,” he explained.