Poor netting of hilsa frustrates fishermen
The ongoing hilsa season sees a poor netting of the popular fish in the coastal waters, much to the frustration of fishermen and traders.
Fishermen's families are passing hard days as the catches are not sufficient enough even to recover the cost of deep sea trips on trawlers for the purpose.
Over 1,000 fishing trawlers from Patuakhali and Barguna districts got engaged in catching hilsa in the sea and different rivers after the end of ban period of hilsa catching but the catches are much less than expectation.
May to October is generally considered the hilsa catching season in Bangladesh.
Habib Mia, a fisherman of Char Miazan under Kalapara upazila of Patuakhali, said he is now worried about payment of Tk 50,000 that he took as loan from an aratdar (wholesaler) as he is not getting the fish as expected.
Fishermen are passing idle time at Dhulia, Mominpur, Kalaiya, Nimdi, Galachipa, Kalapara, Mouduvi, Char Montaz, Kalapara, Mohipur and Pathorghata fish landing stations.
"We went to the deep sea with 15 fishermen and came back to the shore on Friday, after 12 days. We were able to catch only three maunds of hilsa that sold for Tk 40,000 whereas we had to spend about Tk one lakh for the trip. During this time of last year we caught 30 to 35 maunds of hilsa per trip," said Abul Kalam Azad, 45, a fisherman of Char Montaz under Galachipa upazila.
Monirul Islam, 45, a fisherman of Mohipur area under Kalapra upazila, said he did not see such crisis of hilsa in the last 25 years. Hilsa might have changed their abode in the sea due to food crisis or rise in sea level, he added.
Nimai Chandra, a hilsa wholesaler of Mohipur area, said they had expected to net huge quantities of large size hilsa fish due to favourable weather this year but they were now frustrated.
"My experience says that huge hilsa is netted if sea is very rough. During this time of last year at least 200 maunds of hilsa came to my warehouse daily but this year we are getting only 25 to 30 maunds," he added.
Abdul Mannan, president of Barguna Fishing Trawler Owners' Association, said about 300 fishing trawlers went to the Bay to catch hilsa in the first week of this month. All the trawlers but two returned empty.