Fishermen in coastal districts are preparing to net hilsa as the 22-day government ban on fishing the delicious fish comes to an end on Monday.
Earlier, the government imposed a ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transportation of hilsa in different rivers for 22 days from October 12 in 27 districts to boost Hilsa output through protection of the mother fish during its peak breeding season.
During a visit to the KB Bazar Ghat in Bagerhat on Saturday, it was observed that the fishermen were busy in preparing their trawlers and fishing nets to go to the Bay of Bengal to catch hilsa.
Trawlers were being towed to rivers from the dockyard. Fishing nets, fuel and daily essentials were being loaded in the trawlers. Thousands of fishermen are waiting to start their journeys to the sea.
Locals alleged that fishermen from India enter Bangladesh water territories illegally to catch Hilsa. They demanded government steps so that the Indian fishermen cannot enter Bangladesh territory.
Officials at the Fisheries Department, Bangladesh Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, district and upazila administration, police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) conducted drives to prevent Hilsa fishing during the period.
Besides, executive magistrates conducted mobile courts and punished a good number of fishermen who violated the ban.
Sheikh Idris Sheikh, president of Bagerhat Coastal Fishermen Association, also alleged Indian fishermen enter Bangladesh territory and catch fish during the restricted period.
Zia Haider Chowdhury, district fisheries officer, said: “Now we’ve to save Hilsa fry (under 10 inches). The authorities will impose a ban on catching Hilsa fry from November 1 to June 30 in coastal areas.”
“If jatka (hilsa fry) can get the chance to get mature, around five and a half lakh tonnes of hisa could be netted next year,” the official added.