Friday, June 14, 2024

Barisal markets brim with hilsa, as ban goes

Immediately after the end of the ban on netting hilsa, the wholesale fish market in Barisal and 19 other retail ones are now abound with the dazzling fish. Seven thousand maunds of hilsa arrived in Barisal fishery ghat on Thursday at 10.00am barely 10 hours after the restriction ended. Same thing was reported from 18 other hilsa wholesale markets of the southern region. But a good quantity of hilsa was found either rotten and near rotting. In the first morning of the hilsa marketing, over 7,000 maunds of hilsa on three hundred fishing boats and trawlers arrived in Barisal wholesale market from different rivers and the Bay. It is learnt, a section of fishermen caught hilsa during the ban, which they sold in the markets soon afterwords. Due to lack of ice, a large quantity of the fish got rotten and damaged. Wholesalers disbursed the rotten fish on the bank of the Kirtankhola river.
At the time of visiting different streets, fish and kitchen markets, it was found that huge hilsa of fry to egg laying sizes flooded markets at competitively cheaper price than before the ban. President of the Fish Wholesalers’ Association Ajit Das Monu said that at least 7,000 maunds of hilsa came to Barisal markets on Monday and more will reach as soon as deep-sea fishing trawlers anchor here. When questioned, how could it be possible? he avoided the answer.
Md Rafiqul Islam, a fish wholesaler of Mahendiganj, said he sold hilsa in Barisal fish market on the Port Road and claimed that he netted those before and after the ban period and preserved those with ice.
On Thursday, a hilsa weighing below 500 grams was retailing in the markets on an
average for Tk100, a 600-800 gram one for Tk300-350 and that of above 800 grams
for Tk 200-250.
On the other hand, large size hilsa was selling for Tk14,000 per maund against Tk 31,000 before the ban.
Taking the opportunity of huge supply of hilsa, mill owners increased price of per ice slab to Tk260 from Tk200 before the ban.
Production of ice has also increased to 7,000 pieces per day against 1,500 pieces. But wholesalers and ice mill owners are fearing immediate fall in hilsa production like the previous years seeing the abnormal netting of mother hilsa and jatka.
Bimal Chandra Das, fisheries officer (Hilsa) of the fisheries department, Barisal said a huge supply of hilsa came within a few hours of the end of the 11-day restriction. He added, the fish might have been netted before or secretly during the ban period and preserved to avoid the raids by the law enforcers engaged in executing the ban on both catching and marketing the fish.
About marketing egg carrying hilsa and jatka ( hilsa fry less than 9 inches in length), the fishery official said the fish lays eggs all the year round but largely during the 11-days ban of five days before and five days after the full moon of the Bangla month of Ashwin.
Netting and marketing of jatka is always prohibited and the authorities will start drive against that soon, he added.
The 11-day restriction is also aimed at stopping marketing of mother hilsa and fries throughout the country to ensure increased production of hilsa, fisheries officials said.
“This time we not only revised the date following lunar calendar, but also slapped the ban on netting hilsa in certain coastal areas as well as on marketing, sale and transport of the fish across the country,” deputy director of the fisheries department, Barisal said.

-With The Independent input

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