Many customers have expressed their dissatisfaction over the sale of mother ilish
The government should have banned the fishing of mother ilish for up to two months this season to boost the numbers and reduce the prices of the popular fish next season.
Ilish is considered a delicacy and favourite fish dish among Bangali people.
Presently, hundreds of fishermen in three unions under Madaripur district are harvesting mother ilish from the Padma River - leading to an abundance of the fish in local markets.
The fish is selling well in Madaripur, but many customers have expressed their dissatisfaction over the sale of mother ilish.
Visiting the district, the correspondent has found that fishermen from around 20 villages –under Bondorkhola, Kathalbari and Char Janajat unions – are busy harvesting ilish by the thousands.
These mother ilish are being sold in different wholesale markets in several districts - including in Madaripur.
“Markets are well-stocked with fish, but prices are higher than last season,” Mehedi Hassan, a customer visiting the Iter Pool Bazar for Ilish, told the Dhaka Tribune.
“A government ban on harvesting mother Ilish could have helped increase their numbers in the next season, which would have helped lower the prices next year.”
Although ilish prices are holding up despite the large supply, the price of Ilish fry is relatively low.
Ilish weighing 1.3 to 1.4kg is being sold for around Tk1,600-2,000, 1kg for Tk1,200-1,500 and 500g for Tk700-800. Ilish fry is being sold for around Tk200-250.
Retail fish seller Bachchu Khandakar and wholesaler Didar Hossain both admitted that local markets are being flooded with ilish, and most of these fish are carrying eggs.
Local environmental organization Friends of Nature Executive Director Rajon Mahmud told this correspondent: “The government bans the fishing of mother ilish for around two weeks in October.
“If the authorities had banned harvesting and selling of ilish and ilish fry for all of October, the number of fish could increase significantly in the next season. The prices would have gone down, too.”
Shibchar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Imran Ahmed pointed out that the ilish spawning season has changed.
“The government ban of ilish fishing comes into effect in October,” he said. “If the ban is implemented from September to October, it could tremendously benefit spawning season. I will speak with senior officials regarding this issue.”
Madaripur district Fisheries Officer Md Abdus Sattar said the ban of ilish fishing comes into effect every October. “We have yet to receive a government notification to enforce the ban,” he said.
“The Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute has the jurisdiction to decide when to implement this move.”