Barguna’s fishermen have started catching a large quantity of ilish from the Bay of Bengal.
They are now returning with trawlers filled with ilish – bringing joy to the local workers and traders at Patharghata fish landing station.
No one can afford to sit idle. The fleet of trawlers (which are anchoring at the landing station) is growing in number with each passing day.
Proshanta, a wharf worker, said: “It was not the same just one month ago. Suddenly, over the last 10 days, the fishermen started arriving at Patharghata with ilish.”
“We need to put an extra effort when the fishing net gets a large number of ilish, and this extra effort always means extra income,” he added.
Barguna District Fishing Trawler Owners’ Association President Golam Mostofa said: “The prices are not too high, nor low – it is somewhere in the middle at the moment. This way, fishermen and small trawler owners will be able to recover their costs and repay their outstanding loans soon.”
The higher volume of ilish caught recently is an outcome of the ban on catching ilish fry – that started from October last year and ended in July this year, he added.
On Thursday, per mound of ilish – depending on the size of the fish – was being sold between the range of Tk14,000-40,000 at Patharghata fish landing station.
Barguna’s fish traders send ilish to different districts, including Dhaka, Jessore, Jhenaidah, Rangpur, Pabna and Khulna. This season, the supply to those districts has been adequate, added Golam.
The fishing vessel (FV) Sohel was anchored to the wharf on Thursday morning. Kabir Hawladar, a worker from the trawler, said: “Such a huge catch like the one we brought this time is very rare.”
The months – starting from July to October – are considered the “peak time” for catching ilish. This year, the fishermen started spotting schools of ilish since the beginning of August.
According to Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC), trawlers have brought about 2,048 tons of ilish to Patharghata fish landing station from July till September, so far. The BFDC officials hope that the total amount of ilish landing at Patharghata this season might cross the last seaon’s record, which stood at 3,454 tons, by a good margin.
According to many fishermen, the number ilish has risen in the deep sea. They are likely to end up with large quantity of ilish if they fish in the deep sea.
Another fisherman, Mohammad Mamun, said: “Those who are able to reach the deep sea over the next few days will have more ilish.”
Saiful Islam, owner of two fishing trawlers said: “Schools of such quantity are usually spotted in the deep sea when the mother fish are in their gestation period. As the eggs become mature, the ilish schools move near the shore.”
Md Alam Hawladar, owner of a fish depot, said ilish production has increased because of the planning and actions taken by the Department of Fisheries – to protect the ilish fry by setting an embargo on catching them in the months prior to July.
Each and every trawler is now returning from the sea with fairly satisfactory output, leading to a drop in ilish prices, he added.