Two months' ban to ensure ilish growth
The government has banned the catching of fishes of all kinds, including ilish, in the Padma-Meghna rivers from March 1 to April 30.
The two-month-long ban has been imposed on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting of any kind of fish, especially "jatka" (ilish fry less than 25cm long), for reasons of increasing ilish production.
Violation of the ban may lead to an offender being fined as well as jailed for two years under the Protection and Conservation of Fish Act.
The ban covers 432km of water body in six sanctuaries of various rivers, including the Padma andMeghna.
Dr Anisur Rahman, ilish researcher and chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (river centre) said: "The two-month ban has been imposed for allowing jatka to grow freely."
"The six sanctuaries under this ban are - 100km of Meghna from Chandpur's Shatnal to Lakshmipur's Char Alexander, 20km of Padma river in Shariatpur, 120km of Shahbazpur channel in Bhola, 80km of Tentulia river in Bhola-Patuakhali, 40km in Andharmanik river of Patuakhali and 82km of Meghna in Barisal's Hizla-Mehendiganj," he added.
The president of the boat owners' association, Shah Mallik, said: "We have instructed the fishermen to leave their boats tied to the river bank. The big boats have already halted their activities. Some seasonal fishermen still fish during this time, which hampers the Jatka Conservation Program."
Chandpur District Fisheries Officer Asadul Baki said: "A district task force has been formed to implement the Jatka Conservation Program of the Department of Fisheries. The task force comprises the district council, district and naval police, coastguard, district fisheries office and local representatives.
"We are taking various steps, like holding meetings, making announcements and circulating posters to stop fishermen from catching any kinds of fish. If any fisherman illegally catches any jatka the mobile court will take action against him," he stated.
He added: "There are 51,190 enlisted fishermen in the district who will become jobless. To compensate them, the government will provide 40kg of rice every month to each fisherman for the next four months."