Fishermen frustrated after the end of ban
After being closed for 22 days, the fishermen of Bhola are returning home frustrated failing to net any hilsa in the river. They are claiming that there is no hilsa in the rivers of Bhola as those were netted in abundance freely in the upstream areas including Barishal, Chandpur, Laxmipur and Shariatpur in violation of the ban.
The fishermen also claimed that the mother hilsa could not lay eggs on time as the ban was imposed 10 days earlier than last year. The price has also gone up as the quantity of hilsa is less.
Full season of hilsha is from July to October. Fishermen did not see the desired hilsa even in this busy season. Just when one or two hilsas were caught, the government imposed a 22-day ban on mother hilsas so that they could lay eggs freely.
Where last year the ban was imposed from October 14, this year it was issued from October 4. Even then, the fishermen of Bhola abstained from hunting hilsa in compliance with the ban. The fishermen thought that after a break of 22 days, they would catch hilsa in flocks, but they did not get the expected hilsa.
Buyers hoped that after the ban, a lot of hilsa would be caught and prices would go down. On the contrary, due to the low quantity of hilsa, the price of hilsa has now doubled. Egg-laying fish is still being caught in fishermen's nets due to non-issuance of ban in time and violation of the ban on upstream. The fishermen claimed that there has been a situation where the time of ban has been fixed without any discussion with them.
Bhola Ilisha Ghat fisherman Md. Ibrahim said, we have complied with the 22-day ban imposed by the government. The fish we got after 22 days in the river is much less than the fish we got when we went to the river after the ban in other years.
Md. Naqib, fisherman of Nasir ghat said that the ban was 10 days earlier this year than last year and there was no similarity between the ban and the release of fish eggs. We are still getting fish with eggs. If the ban was lifted a few more days later, the fish would be able to lay eggs, which would be good for our fishermen as well. That is why it would have been better to talk to our fishermen and then impose a ban.
Manjur Alam, a fish trader, said, after the ban imposed, we thought the fish would increase a lot, but now the fish is much lower but the price is higher."
Bhola district Fisheries Officer SM Azharul Islam said hilsa usually does not lay eggs at the same time in all districts. The area varies. However, the timing of the ban has been determined on the basis of recommendations from fishermen representatives across the country and expert panels from the central office. He further said that during the next full moon the fishermen will get more hilsa.
Bhola has produced 1 lakh 75 thousand 3 hundred metric tons of hilsa in the last 2020-21 financial year. The Fisheries Department has set a target of producing 1 lakh 78 thousand metric tons of hilsa in the fiscal year 2021-22.