As the 22-day ban on netting hilsa goes the fishermen across the country have become busy again catching the delectable fish from the Bay of Bengal and different rivers.
In order to increase the production of hilsa, massive publicity, administrative restriction, jail-fines were all in place to ensure the ban. The Fisheries Department claims that the production will surpass past records as the ban on the catch of mother hilsa has been completely successful.
However, there has been a mixed reaction to the success of the operation among fishermen. Fishermen believe that if the government support increases and there are simultaneous restrictions in neighboring countries, production will further increase.
Hilsa researchers said the main purpose of banning hilsa catch at this time is to protect mother hilsa, so that they can safely lay eggs in rivers. They said at least 7,40,000 kgs of egg were released last year alone. If half of it is fertilised and even 10 percent of it survive, 37 trillion hilsa fries or jatka can be found.
Regarding the initiative to protect the mother hilsa this time, hilsa researcher Dr Md Anisur Rahaman, chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, Chandpur, told the Bangladesh Post that due to the low pressure in the sea, this time more hilsa have been able to enter rivers and lay eggs. Hopefully, this year's total hatching may increase by 10 percent.
Jatka protection program we started in Bangladesh from 2003-2004. In the first Bangla month of Ashwin since 2008, it has been banned to catch hilsa for 11 days before and after the full moon. Later, the ban was imposed for 22 consecutive days in conjunction with the full moon and the new moon.
Fisheries officials said the production of hilsa has been steadily increasing due to protecting jatka and mother hilsa during the period of ban. Not only that, overweight hilsa is also available now. Three lakh six thousand tons of hilsa was caught in the country in 2014-15 financial year, it has increased to five lakh 33 thousand tonnes in 2018-19. The average weight of hilsa has increased by 350 grams in the last three years.
Several fishermen in coastal belt said that Indian fishermen have been fishing freely in the Bay of Bengal for the last few years in the ban period. And the ban is not being fully successful.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim said, "This time our initiative has been a total success in the breeding season of hilsa. This time our police and coastguards took strict measures. As a result, even the fishermen of the neighbouring countries could not enter the border of Bangladesh.”