The government imposed the ban starting October 9 to ensure safe breeding for mother ilish
A large number of unscrupulous fishermen of Shibchar upazila in Madaripur district are catching ilish in the Padma River defying the government's 22-day ban on netting mother ilish.
The government imposed the ban starting October 9 to ensure safe breeding for mother ilish.
In order to put an end to this illegal activity, mobile courts have so far jailed and fined as many as 200 people including fishermen and buyers, and burned 700,000m of electric nets used to catch ilish, according to the district's Fisheries Department.
Over 3,500 fishermen of the upazila were also provided 20kg of rice each before the beginning of the ban to help them through that period.
However, all steps taken by the administration to stop the illegal activity have gone in vain, with fishermen from a number of unions, including Bandorkhola, Charjanajat, and Madabrer Char of Shibchar upazila, still catching mother ilish.
Char areas where much of the illegal fishing takes place, largely remain off the district administration’s radar providing the dishonest an opportunity to catch, hoard and sell ilish at night. If the authorities sometimes make it to these areas, they are attacked by fishermen.
Some fishermen wishing anonymity told this correspondent that they have continued netting ilish in the Padma River in order to make a handsome profit and that they are netting a large number of the fish. They are making sales door to door in various villages at Tk200-600 per kg.
Customers from other areas are also coming in to buy this fish as prices are comparatively low.
A buyer, who also requested not to be named, said they were buying the fish since ilish prices remain high rest of the year.
When contacted, ATM Samsuzzaman, senior fisheries officer of Shibchar upazila, said: ''We know about the illegal ilish netting. That is why we are conducting drives day and night to stop this illegal activity. Mobile courts have already meted out punishment, including jail and fines, to many fishermen. We want to ensure the safe breeding of mother ilish.''
Echoing the same, Shibchar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Asaduzzaman told this correspondent that they would continue conducting mobile courts till the end of the ban to punish those who are catching, selling, and buying ilish.
District Fisheries Officer (DFO) Ripon Kanti Ghosh said: "We told fishermen, fish traders, and buyers about the ban many days ago and distributed 20kg rice to each fisherman. However, some of them are defying the prohibition. So, we are conducting drive with the help of law enforcement agencies and mobile court have already meted out punishment to 185 people involved in these illegal practices.''