Traders claim some 2,000 maunds of ilish arrived at the market but the supply is less than that of last year
Ilish is a gastronomer's utmost delight, but for the fish traders, Ilish is pure gold.
And with the arrival of the Ilish season, the Chandpur Boro Bazar fisheries ghat, the district's largest wholesale ilish market, is once again buzzing with activity - hundreds of people are thronging to buy the prized catch every day.
But traders at this market rue the decline in ilish production in the Padma river - they say this year's stock is mostly coming from Hatia, Noakhali and other coastal areas.
On Tuesday, a UNB correspondent visited the area and found a number of fishing trawlers and pickup vans at the market carrying ilish netted from the Hatia upazila.
“It is the peak ilish season. After a long time, we are seeing a booming supply at the market, though it's still low as compared to that of last year. However, the catch is mostly from Hatia and not from the Padma," said Nurul Islam, a trader.
Traders claimed that some 2,000 maunds of the popular fish arrived at the market on Tuesday, but the supply was less than that of last year.
Manik Jamadar, president of the Chandpur Matsya Banik Samity, said, "The number of Padma's ilish is less this year as the fishermen have not been able to catch the desired 40-50 maunds from the river, which is not good news."
The poor supply from the Padma River has also been pushing up the prices of the Padma ilish - the wholesale price is Tk1,200 a kg and the retail price is Tk1,300-1,400 a kg. A kg of the Hatia ilish, on the other hand, costs Tk1,000.
Traders from Sylhet, Habiganj, Sreemangal, Kishoreganj, Jamalpur, Mymensingh and capital Dhaka flock to this popular market to buy ilish every year.
The peak ilish season is during the monsoon months of August, September and October.
According to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, ilish production jumped from 300,000 tons in 2008-09 to 500,000 tons in 2017-18.
On the other hand, the ministry has taken different measures, including a ban on ilish fishing, to boost the production of the fish to 600,000 tons in the current fiscal.
"With two more months to go, we hope to smile all the way to the bank," said another trader at the market.