The Hilsa fish market in Barishal has been facing an acute shortage of Hilsa fish even during this peak season. Besides, the prices have also gone high because of the shortage.
On Saturday, Hilsa was sold for Tk30,000-40,000 per maund depending on size, according to the information of fish traders at Port Road fish market in Barishal.
But only a week ago, the fish price was Tk15,000-25,000 per maund in the same market.
The local fishermen said they returned from the sea without catching enough Hilsa for sudden rough weather.
"We usually get two to three hundred maunds of Hilsa from the sea within four to seven days in the deep sea. But this time, we got only eighty to hundred maunds," said Shah-e-Alom, a fisherman of Charfashion in Bhola.
He came to sell the Hilsa at a market in Barishal.
"We get a chance to go to sea for fishing twice a month. We have to wait for fair weather in the sea before fishing," he added.
A relatively low number of fishing boats were anchored in the ghat(pier) on Saturday. But dozens of fishing boats arrived with plenty of fish at the same time in the past year.
"The quantity of fish this year in the Meghna and all other rivers in the division is relatively low. But we usually get a huge quantity of fish during this time," said Shahidul, another fisherman of Barishal sadar.
When asked, he said he was not sure why the quantity of Hilsa was lower this year.
"I have to incur a loss of Tk6,000 a day for the fish shortage. I have to pay salary to all the staff in my warehouse regardless of my fish trading," said Year Hossain Shikder, a fish warehouse owner of the market.
"We are frustrated with the small amount of fish arriving in our market. On average, around 3,000 maunds of fish arrived in the market at this time in previous years. But now the quantity is hardly 2,000 maunds," said Ajit Kumar Das, the president of Barishal Port Road fish market
The fish are not even available in the local rivers, which is surprising, he added.
"It is natural that fish quantity may vary even in the full season," said Anisur Rahman Talukder, deputy director of fisheries in Barishal, adding that fishermen would get plenty of fish within the next few days.
"We have fixed a target of getting around 350,000 tonnes of fish, which is 10,000 tonnes more compared to the target in the previous year," he added.
At the same time, fishermen of different districts in the division have started to go to sea since Saturday afternoon to catch Hilsa.
They are ignoring the ongoing rough weather because they believe that they can get a good catch of Hilsa from the sea amid this foul weather.
Although some of the fishermen are afraid of going to sea because of the rough waves, they are bound to join the fishing because of their poverty, said the fishermen of Charfashion in Bhola.
Many fishermen anchored their fishing boats at Sonarchar and Charmontaj-the two islands in the sea under Bhola and Patuakhali districts, said Ajit.
The three other large fish markets in the division are also facing a shortage of fish, he said.