Hilsa netting in sea continues despite ban
Many fishers in Barishal are netting hilsa despite the ongoing ban on sea-fishing. They are catching the fish, particularly during the night to hide from the drives by authorities concerned.
The Department of Fisheries enforced the 65-day ban on netting hilsa till July 23, to protect the mother fish till spawning.
However, local traders said the fish were being netted and sent from the southern region, including Mahipur, Kuakata and Bhola.
Asked, fishers said they have no other option but to net the fish in order to survive amid the pandemic and lockdown. They also said the government food support they receive is not enough.
Each of the around 3.63 lakh fishers is supposed to get 40kg rice per month in compensation.
Meanwhile, as the lockdown has brought down the demand for fish in Barishal, hilsa caught from rivers and seas are being sent to different markets of the country, including those of Dhaka.
They are going to markets in Dhaka, Rajshahi and Khulna, as the number of local buyers has decreased due to the lockdown.
After visiting Barishal Port Road wholesale fish market, it was found that about 300 maunds of hilsa were being loaded in three trucks going to markets in Dhaka, Rajshahi and Khulna.
Shaheen, owner of the Khulna-bound truck, said most of the fish came from sea-going fishing boats.
Year Siktar, a local trader, said local fish, each weighing one kilogramme, generally go for Tk 60,000 per maund. However, most of the fish that were being sent were caught from the sea, and so, the one-kg fish were being sold for Tk, 27,000 per maund.
"Even though there's a 65-day ban on sea-fishing is in place, many are catching fish, violating the law," he said.
Traders also said fish from the sea cannot be sold for that much, and are different in taste from river fish.
Kalam Majhi of Bhola's Charfasson upazila said fish caught in the last few days were brought to Barishal Port Road in fishing trawlers, as there was less demand in the local market.
Nirab Hossain Tutul -- president of Matsya Aratdar Samitee, Port Road wholesale fish market -- said some hilsa are being caught in Bhola and Kuakata now. Apart from this, fish are also coming from the sea. On Thursday, at least a thousand maunds of fish came in three fishing boats.
Bimal Chandra Das -- district fisheries officer (hilsa) -- said these days it is raining heavily, and so, it has created a favourable environment for hilsa fishing. As a result, some fish are being caught.
He said he did not know that sea-going fishing boats were bringing in fish. "We will look into it," he added.