Local markets of Lakshmipur have been filled with hilsa for the last couple of days, thanks to abundant and surprising winter catches in the Meghna River.
The markets are abuzz with the sale of the popular food fish from early morning to late at night.
The catches are even higher than the last monsoon, said the fishermen of Lakshmipur's Kamalnagar fish market.
The plentiful catches also lowered the wholesale and retail prices of hilsa at local markets.
At Marborhat of Kamalnagar upazila one-kg hilsa was sold at Tk700-800, 600g-700g hilsa at Tk500-600, half-kg hilsa at Tk350-400.
Fisherman Ripon from Kamalnagor's Motirhat said, "Usually, during the winter, the number of other fishes is higher than that of hilsa. This year is exceptional. I have not seen such hilsa catch in the last five seasons."
Motirhat is the largest fisheries ghat among 20 fisheries ghats in the 65km area from Lakshmipur's Ramgati Bazar to Chandpur's Haimchar.
Secretary of Motirhat ghat Mehedi Hasan Liton said, "Every day several hundred maunds of fish are being supplied here. So, the price is low. Many wholesalers buy fish here and send it to Dhaka and other regions."
Kamalganj Upazila Senior Fisheries Officer Abdul Quddus said, "So far I can remember, this is the highest amount of winter hilsa catch."
Former Lakshmipur District Fisheries Officer AHM Mohib Ullah said, "Hilsa got matured as there was a strict embargo on catching jatka hilsa – fry less than 10 inch or 26 centimetres. If the fishermen are sensitised and jatka catch is stopped, hilsa will be available throughout the year."
More than 62,000 fishermen live on fishing in the Meghna. Of them, registered 37,000 fishermen get government benefits.
There are more than two lakh fisherman families in Lakshmipur. The average hilsa production per year in the district is 35,000 tonnes.