Jatka (hilsa fry) catching is going on unabated in Laxmipur, defying a ban imposed by the government on netting the fish for two months from March 1 to April 30.
A section of fishermen are catching jatka at different points of the Meghna river. They are selling those door to door due to the imposition of trading restriction in the town’s bazars.
The fishermen lamented that they are forced to go to river to catch the fish as they have to repay the loan of local money lenders and have no other income to run their family.
Jatka netting has increased this year as the fishermen did not get food support at certain times. Of 52,000 fishermen, 27 thousand, who are registered, received food assistance, according to fisheries department in the district.
Rahim Mia, a fish trader of Alexander bazar in Ramgati upazila, said untimely distribution of food assistance has forced the fishermen to defy the ban.
Local people of Kamolnagar and Ramgati upazilas said fishermen are catching jatka in Meghna and its connecting canals and sold those door to door for up to Tk 150 per kilogram.
Rafique Sardar, a fisherman of Ludhua area in Kamolganj upazila, said “After losing our homestead to the river, we now live on other people’s land with 11-member family. I took loan from local money lender to meet up the daily expenses. As we don’t get the food assistance in right time, we have no other ways but to catch fish during the ban period.”
“I jump into the river leaving my two sons on the boat while the administration is seen conducting drive against illegal fish netting in Meghna,” Rafique said.
Abdul Kuddus, senior fisheries officer of Kamolganj upazila, said in a bid to save the fish resources, their drive is going on and so far six boats were seized and huge net was set on fire.
A total of 38 fishermen were jailed and 33 others fined in the district till now, sources said.