'Some Ilish from coastal areas also reached the market. But the restriction against netting fish in the deep sea continues'
Big sized Ilish has flooded Barisal markets in the off season and are being offered at comparatively low prices.
Visiting the Ilish mokam (wholesale market) at Port Road area of the city on Thursday, it was found that huge Ilish weighing average 700-1000 grams were being netted in rivers of the Barisal region, and flooded the market at the start of the rainy season.
After ending the 65-day restriction against netting Ilish on June 30, till July 9, 2020, at least 10,000 maunds of the fish netted from local rivers and estuaries, reached the wholesale market of Barisal, said Nirob Hossain Tutul, secretary of Barisal district Matsya Aratdar Samity.
Altogether 1,246 maunds of the fish on Saturday, 2,328 maunds on Sunday, 1,468 maunds on Monday, more than 4,000 maunds on Tuesday and Wednesday were supplied at the Ilish mokam.
“Some Ilish from coastal areas also reached the market. But the restriction against netting fish in the deep sea continues. After the restriction ends in the third week of July, more Ilish will be available in the market from the first week of August,” he added.
According to the local fishermen, most of these Ilish were netted from the sweet water rivers of Elisha, Kalabdar, Meghna and its branches and estuaries at Char Mamtaz, Shayam Raj, Laharhut of Bhola, Hizla, Mehendiganj, Babuganj, Kaliganj, Ulania of the district.
Fish traders, packers and buyers were found busy supplying ilish by trucks to Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and other areas of the country at relatively cheaper price compared to previous year.
Barisal Port Road wholesale Ilish market trader Ujjal Das said that a huge supply of big Ilish in the last seven days has also made the price cheaper than the same season last year.
Now, the fish are selling at Tk 800 for over one kilogram in weight. Those below 1000 gram sell at the rate of Tk 650-700. Previous year it was sold at Tk 1,200 and Tk 800 respectively, he said.
On Thursday, the price of per maund of sweet-water IlIsh weighing 800-800 grams was Tk22,000 to 23,000; 800-1200 grams was Tk 23,000 to 25,000; and 1300-1500 grams was Tk 25,000 to 28,000.
The price of Ilish netted in the sea was priced at Tk 1,500-2,500 less per maund than the Ilish netted from sweetwater river.
Usually the Ilish season starts from August and reaches its peak in October.
“We do not know the reason as to how such large fishes got caught during this off-season,” said Shah Alam, an Ilish trader.
Hasan Mia, a fisherman, said he netted 20 maunds of Ilish from Elisha River in Bhola district.
Dr.Bimal Chandra Das, district fishery officer (Ilish), said that the government's efforts to protect Jatka (Ilish fries less than 10 inches in length) for ensuring safe breeding in the sanctuary is increasing Ilish production and making it available during off season.
Anisur Rahman, Ilish researcher and chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) at Chandpur centre, said the main Ilish season is from August to October.