In a bid to facilitate hilsa breeding, the government is going to impose a countrywide 22-day ban on catching, carrying, preserving, and selling the fish from Tuesday at midnight.
The 22-day ban would come into effect from 12:01am on Wednesday and the fishermen will be permitted to restart fishing on 4 November.
No one will be spared if they defy the ban, warned Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim at a meeting on Tuesday at noon.
The meeting, held at the Secretariat and attended by the minister through video conference, was organised over how to make the Mother Hilsa Protection Campaign 2020 successful.
The minister said those who dare to create obstacles to protect hilsa breeding will not be spared. We have to make the campaign successful with the participation of all stakeholders.
Stating that VGF rice for the fishermen who would be affected by the ban have already reached the districts, Rezaul said, "All the stakeholders including field level officials and law enforcement have to be careful so that the movement of mother hilsas is not affected during the ban. The Police, Rab, the Coast Guard, the Navy and Air Force, all have to carry out their respective duties to ensure a complete halt to hilsa fishing during the ban."
Meanwhile, our Barishal correspondent reports the authorities have taken all the necessary preparations to impose the ban, on all kinds of fishing in all the rivers of Barishal division, from Tuesday midnight.
Divisional fisheries officials said the ban aims to ensure safety for mother hilsas as it is the peak time for breeding. All the mother hilsas come to breed in the rivers of the division during this time.
A total of 2,83,000 fishermen of all six districts under the division would be given food support during the ban, said Anisur Rahman, the divisional director of fisheries department of Barishal.
"Each fisherman will be given twenty kilogrammes of rice," he said.
"If we can stop netting the hilsa during this period regularly, definitely we will get many more hilsa in the coming years," he hoped.
The fishermen who are going to be affected due to the ban, however, termed the government assistance insufficient.
"We will get food support from the government, but just 20 kilogrammes of rice is not enough for our survival. If we get a certain amount of taka along with food it will be easier for us to carry out our daily lives," said many fishermen of Badurtola of Rajapur in Jhalakathi.
Catching, selling and transporting hilsa fish is strictly prohibited during the 14 October to 4 November ban.
Meanwhile, different fish markets in Barishal were seen busy selling hilsa fish on Tuesday morning. The fish sold for Tk500 to Tk1,000, depending on their size.
Some buyers were seen waiting at the markets, hoping to buy the fish at midnight at a cheaper price. Usually, prices reduce with the onset of night.
"At least 1,000 maunds of hilsas will be sold tonight at ten fish markets in Barishal," hoped the sellers.