Hilsha back in Rajshahi Padma River

Published : 12 Nov 2016, 17:47

Dr Aynal Haque

Plenty of Hilsha are being netted in different areas of the Padma River for the last few days as the tasty national fish came back in the river after a long gap making the fishermen happy and consumers elated. 

With the reappearance of Hilsha, fishermen residing along the river in Rajshahi and Chapainawabgonj districts have become busy in fishing and marketing the catches. Similarly, a number of traders from different areas in the country including capital Dhaka are rushing to the harvesting points for purchasing Hilsha.

Concerned officials here said the recent conservation efforts of the government resulted in an increased migration of Hilsha from the Bay of Bengal to Rajshahi region through the Padma.

Thereby, plenty of fishes are found in and around the spawning ground areas indicating a positive impact of ban on Hilsha fishing during spawning period.

"I am earning Taka 2,000 to Taka 3,000 after harvesting Hilsha per day," said Noimuddin, a fisherman of Matikata village under Godagari Upazila. 

"I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw a large supply of Hilsha fresh from the Padma today (Thursday) morning. And without a second thought, I bought more than a dozen of them," said Dr Sarwar Jahan, Assistant Professor of Zoology at Rajshahi Govt. Women's College.

"Just a few years ago, there was hardly any Hilsha, caught in the Padma, in the local markets. We had to depend on the supply from Barisal or other regions. But these days, things have improved quite a lot," said Dr Sarwar. 

He observed that Hilsha availability in the Rajshahi region had drastically fallen in the early 1990s as the fish stopped migrating to the Padma, largely due to overfishing of brood Hilshas and reduction in water flow in the river.

Subhash Chandra Shaha, District Fisheries Officer, here told BSS that a ban on catching Hilsha fish was effected from October 12 to November 2 last and the three-week long ban was found effective for successful breeding of Hilsha everywhere in the region.

He mentioned that around 2,000 fishermen have been fishing Hilsha since November 3 last and more than 20 to 25 mounds are being netted every day.

The Hilsa availability was decreasing tremendously over the last decades for increasing fishing pressure and environmental degradation. 

Shubhash Shaha added that other fishes are also found in plenty in the spawning grounds and adjacent areas and thus it is assumed that fishing ban had positive impact on the successful breeding of other fishes. 

The fishing ban should be in force during every breeding season in the years to come for sustainable reproduction of Hilsha, he added.

"It's a good news that Hilshas are returning to the Padma River. We noticed fishermen have been catching Hilshas in the Padma in the Rajshahi region for the last couple of days," said Md Muniruzzaman, Divisional Deputy Director of Directorate of Fisheries.

He said: "It is possible to further increase Hilsha production in the rivers if the government provides us with more logistic supports, including manpower and funding."

Praising the government initiatives in conserving Hilsha, experts opined that further success can be achieved by ensuring proper compensation for fishermen and completely stopping the use of gill net.

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