Hilsa fishers all smiles
Thousands of fishermen are out on work braving dense fog and cold as flocks of hilsa are being netted in the Meghna river in Laxmipur.
Earlier, local fishermen, traders and consumers were disappointed due to paucity of the popular fish but now the fish landing stations and local haats and bazaars are buzzing with activities due to its abundant supply from the beginning of the Bangla month of Magh, said Abu Naser, president of Laduaghat Matsyajibi Samity in Kamalnagar upazila.
Over 24,000 tonnes of hilsa worth about Tk 750 crore are netted in the Meghna river in Laxmipur per year and after meeting the local demand, the fish is sent to different places, said sources at the district department of fisheries.
There are 47 thousand and 771 registered fishermen in the district -- 17,431 in Ramgati upazila, 14,100 in Kamalnagar and the rest 16,240 in Sadar, Raipur and Ramganj upazilas.
Fishermen's leaders claim that there are more than 50 thousand unregistered fishermen in the district.
Stakeholders said the fishermen take loan from warehouse owners and trawler owners at the beginning of the season. The fishermen sell their season's catch to the warehouse owners against the loans they took.
The warehouse owners and the money lenders sell the hilsa to the wholesalers. Wholesalers from far-flung areas come to the fish ghats twice a day to collect hilsa and sell them to retailers and consumers.
At the beginning of the Bangla month of Bhadra the fishermen got only a little amounts of hilsa that were also small in size.
But now with good catches of large sized hilsa in the Meghna river, the markets are flooded with the popular fish, said local fishermen.
The fishermen are trying to woo the customers in the markets and also ferrying the delicious fish in the villages. The prices are lower also.
A hilsa weighing about 500 to 600 grams is now selling for Tk 200 to Tk 250, those of 750 grams for Tk 300 to Tk 350 and 900 gram to 1 kg for Tk 500 to Tk 600.
“I was burdened with loan as I could not catch fish in the river since the start of the season. I am now busy fishing in the river as the catch now is more and I hope to repay the loans soon,” said Afzal Miah, a fisherman at Charshita village in Ramgati upazila.
“In last two days, I and nine others caught a total of 2,000 kg of hilsa, each weighing 700 gram to 800 gram, along with 200 kg other fishes,” said Nur Alam, a trawler driver at Kotoria fish ghat in Kamalnagar upazila.
The demand for ice has increased much as the supply of hilsa and other fish are abundant, said Rahmat Miah, an ice trader at Kotoria.
Wholesalers at Motirhat, Kotoria, Ludhua and other fish ghats in Kamalnagar upazila are expecting good profit from hilsa trade this season as good catches of the popular fish are being netted in the Meghna.
District Fisheries Officer SM Mohib Ullah said the fishermen are going to the river with their nets amid dense fog and cold as huge quantities of hilsa are being caught in their nets.