Peak season, poor catch
Although the peak season for catching hilsa is going on, supply of the fish is very poor to Port Road Wholesale Market in Barisal as fishermen are reluctant to fish in the Bay amid inclement weather.
Consequently, most of the day labourers are sitting idle at the market where fish come from Barisal division and Madaripur and Shariatpur districts.
Moslem Sarder, top labour leader at the market, said now only 300-500 permanent labourers work where there were 1,200-1,500 labourers at this time last year.
At least 20 traders out of over 100 kept their stores closed, said Farid Mia, owner of Dina Matsya Arot.
Presently, only 300-500 maund of hilsa are selling every day but the figure was 1,500-2,000 at this time last year, he added.
During a visit to the wholesale market, this correspondent found that some labourers were waiting to be hired while some were sleeping and gossiping.
The number of temporary labourers decreased to 5,000 from 20,000, said Nirob Hossain Tutul, secretary of Barisal Zila Matsya Aratder Samity.
The fishermen said they cannot stay in the sea and rivers for a long time and have to return with less number of fish.
Siraj Majhi, a fisherman from Bhola, said he brought only 40 maunds of hilsa as he had to return from the sea within a short time. Other times, he had brought 200 maunds, he added.
“Due to inclement weather, we cannot dare to go to the deep sea,” he further said.
Moslem Mia, another fisherman, said he had to return with only 10 maunds within 10 days, although he had caught over 50 maunds last year.
Similar comments came from Farhad Sarder.
Talking to this correspondent, District Fishery Officer, Barisal Tapan Chandra Paul acknowledged the fact of poor supply of hilsa due to depression over the Bay.
He, however, said the overall situation might get normal within 10 days.
The peak season for catching hilsa is between July and mid-October, said Bimol Chandra Das, another district fishery officer.