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Bangladesh gets its 6th Hilsa sanctuary

  • Published at 04:56 pm June 25th, 2018
Hilsa fish at a wholesale market Dhaka Tribune

An official declaration to come from the Ministry of Law soon

Bangladesh has declared the 83km-long stripe in Meghna River – from Hizla to Mehendiganj of Barisal district – as its 6th Hilsa sanctuary, to conserve the national fish population further.

Earlier in April, the Department of Fisheries issued a pre-circular on the latest sanctuary, for two months, to receive any suggestion of changes.  But the department did not receive any negation responses till June 17 which was the deadline.

“As there are no complains about the declaration, the decision will come into effect after the deadline. That is why now we can say that the government has declared its 6th sanctuary,” said Masud Ara Momi, assistant director of the fisheries department.

An official declaration will come from the Ministry of Law soon, she added.

According to the Fisheries Statistical Report of Bangladesh 2016-17, Bangladesh annually produces 496,417 tonnes of Hilsa which bring in a substantial amount of foreign currency through exports. 

Around 65% of that comes from marine sources, and the rest from inland rivers. 

The national fish of Bangladesh contributes to around 12% of overall fish production in the country, which is equivalent to around 1% of the country’s GDP. 

Around half a million fishermen are directly dependent on Hilsa production for their livelihood, and another two million indirectly. 

Due to high demand in both home and abroad, excessive fishing in the past couple of decades has led to concerns regarding its endangered existence. 

In order to conserve this species, the government has taken several initiatives, one of which is the ban on Hilsa catching during two breeding seasons. 

The first ban of the year is in March-April, in all sanctuaries except for the one in Andharmanik River. The second ban is in November-January in the Andharmanik sanctuary.

The Hilsa sanctuaries in Bangladesh

  • 100km stripe in Meghna river – from Shatnol to Char Alaxandar 
  • 90km stripe of Shahbazpur Channel at Meghna estuary in Bhola district 
  • 100km stripe of Tentulia River in Bhola district
  • 40km stripe in Andharmanik River in Patuakhali district
  • 20km stripe at lower Padma (Padma confluence) in Shariatpur district
  • 83km stripe in Meghna River (from Hizla to Mehendiganj) in Barisal district.