Abundant catch of Hilsa in off-season
Three biggest Hilsa markets in the country’s southern part are now buzzing with buyers and sellers
Hilsa catch in the last one week from the Bay of Bengal and different rivers, including the Meghna in Barishal, has been abundant.
Fishermen were very happy and surprised to catch huge numbers of the silver fish all of a sudden in the winter. Prices are also comparatively low with more supply.
Three biggest Hilsa markets in the country's southern part are now buzzing with buyers and sellers.
Hilsa numbers have gone up a lot in the last few years, riding on several measures on the part of the government, said Azizul Haque, deputy director of the Barishal divisional fisheries department.
They have been conducting different programmes with the help of law enforcers to save mother Hilsas and Jatka (Hilsa fry less than 25cm long).
Awareness among fishermen has also increased, he added.
Fishermen said they have been netting a large amount of Hilsa for the last eight days from the Bay of Bengal and Meghna River. Many of the fish weigh around 1kg each.
They have not witnessed such huge catches before in the Meghna during winter.
According to the Barishal divisional fisheries department, as Hilsa fishing remained suspended during its breeding season, production of the silver fish has increased in the Bay and coastal rivers. Hence, the fish is available in large numbers in winter too.
During a visit, a big number of buyers were seen flocking to the Port Road Bazar, the largest fish market in Barishal.
A good number of boats, trawlers and speedboats, carrying Hilsa netted from Kirtonkhola River, were coming to the fisheries ghat adjacent to the market.
The moment a Hilsa-laden boat reached the fish landing station, wholesalers rushed there to buy as much as they could. Later, they stockpiled those in front of their storehouses for sales.
Bimol Chandra Das, a Barishal hilsha officer, said most of Hilsa fishes arriving at the Barishal Port Road Bazar are of Meghna River.
A large amount of Hilsa is being netted from different points of Meghna River. The fish is also available in coastal regions in good number.
Prices of the fish also have come down amid abundant catches.
Fishermen Md Jashim and Munir said they did not catch Hilsa much during winters in last few years. But the scenario has changed completely in the last one week with abundant catches.
They now can catch fish worth Tk5,000-Tk10,000 every two hours.
Ajit Kumar Das Monu, president of Barishal Port Road Aratdar (wholesaler) Association, said the supply of Hilsa in their wholesale fish market has gone up.
During the winters in the last 5-7 years, they used to trade 60 maunds of Hilsa on average every day. But this time they traded 350 tonnes on last Tuesday. And their trade was 250 tonnes till noon the following day, he added.
Prices of the silver fish dropped in both retail and wholesale markets as its supply is less than the demand now, Ajit added.
On Wednesday Hilsa was selling between Tk12,000-Tk32,000 per maund depending on size.
Like Barishal, fish markets in Barguna, Patuakhali and Bhola are buzzing with buyers and sellers.
The arrival of Hilsa at the fish landing station of Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation in Patharghata upazila of Barguna has been abundant as well.
Ahmedullah, assistant marketing officer of the fish landing station, said they have been getting around 200 maunds of Hilsa per day for the last 12 days.