A local fisherman at the docks said, in the last 10-15 days a huge number of ilish were caught from the Bay of Bengal and the Meghna and Tetulia rivers
Fishermen have been blessed with an abundance of ilish in Bhola. In the last two weeks they have made catches in the thousands made possible by large numbers of ilish spawning in the estuaries of the Meghna and Tetulia rivers during the second breeding period (January-March), say experts.
This comes as a pleasant surprise to fishermen and wholesale businessmen alike, as sales are booming at wholesale fish markets after a somewhat disappointing season. Aside from the usual fish markets, ilish is now being sold at every street corner of the district.
In a visit to the docks, this correspondent found prices to be more affordable with an abundant supply. Wholesale buyers from all across the country including Dhaka, Barisal, and Chandpur were there, buying and packing fish in styrofoam and ice.
A local fisherman at the docks said, in the last 10-15 days a huge number of ilish were caught from the Bay of Bengal and the Meghna and Tetulia rivers.
Ashraf Ali, president of the largest fish wholesaler association told Dhaka Tribune that both fishermen and businessmen did not profit much during the initial ilish fishing season. But the big catches this winter season have made up for that.
“The price is also cheap, with ilish weighing 700-900 grams being sold at Tk25,000 per maund. Fish over 1kg are sold at Tk30,000 per maund, while ilish between 450-700 grams is sold at Tk12-20,000 per maund,” he added.
District Fisheries Officer Azaharul Islam said: “It is a sight to behold, seeing ilish being netted in such quantities. In an effort to build a safe haven for ilish here in Bhola, we are working hard to eradicate illegal fishing.”
Last fiscal year, the ilish market target in the district was 1.3 lakh tons and actual demand was 1.61 lakh tons. This year, the target was set at 1.6 lakh tons, but by December sales exceeded 1 lakh ton, he added.
Md Imtiaz Zaman, regional assistant researcher at Eco Fish, an international organization working with ilish, said: “There was an increase in ilish spawning during the second breeding period and fishermen were able to net a good amount of fish.”
The 22 day ban on ilish fishing has worked successfully and has aided in bigger catches as well, he added.