Monday, 24 January, 2022, 11:03 PM
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Ban on Hilsa catching necessary

Published : Monday, 18 October, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 393

The Department of Fisheries (DoF) has recently imposed a 22 day ban on catching Hilsa - beginning from 4 to 26 October of the running month in different estuaries of the river Meghna. Under this ban order, all types of fishing, processing and transporting of Hilsa will remain suspended. According to a news report published in this daily, an area as wide as 100 km stretching from Shatnal in Chandpur to Char Alexander of Ramgoti Upazila in Laxmipur will remain within the purview of this restriction.

All necessary steps involving law enforcing agencies have been taken in this regard to put the ban into effect. In violation of the ban, one may be sentenced to 1 to 2 year in prison or be fined of Tk 5,000 or be penalised with both at the same time. Meanwhile, enforcing of these two penalties has begun.

However, a recent news report said each fisherman will get 20 kg of rice under VGF programme during this ban. No doubt, this is a commendable move and we think, it is aimed at relieving the financial suffering of fishermen during the fishing ban. This reflects government's fisherman-friendly stance. The question, however, if 20 kg of rice is enough to feed a family for three weeks or not? Moreover, allegations of irregularities over such assistance in the past did the round in the media on many occasions.

Interestingly, this is not the first time a ban on Hilsa has been imposed. In recent years, government has been regularly following this strategy. Honestly speaking, this tactic is behind the groundbreaking yield of Hilsa production for last couple of years is not overstated. Abundance of huge sized Hilsa was hardly seen in the capital's kitchen market even a few years back. In terms of price, Hilsa is now within the purchasing capacity of the middle class.

We believe, behind the success story worked the implementation of ban on fishing in the sea at certain times. In order to keep this progress on, it is necessary to stop catching Jatka and mother Hilsa, especially during this full moon when they lay the most volume of eggs. It is also important to establish in the fishermen's realization that the ultimate beneficiary of this temporary ban will be themselves.

Hilsa, a GI product of Bangladesh and contributes to more than 85 percent of global demand was in decline in the early 2000's due to habitat degradation, overfishing and the use of illegal fishing instruments. Bangladesh once meant to be a sanctuary of various river fishes are day by day getting heavily dependent on cultivated fishes which lack significantly in taste and quality. Due to our untimed fishing and excessive consumption a number of local fishes are on the verge of extinction.

In this situation, we must ensure proper management and maintenance for proper cultivation of the Hilsa.

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