Non-abundance of Hilsha in Mongla create despair among fishermen

Published : 27 Aug 2021 09:16 PM

The 65-day fishing ban from May 20 to July 23 to increase the breeding of all types of fish in the sea, including Hilsa have ended at July. Earlier, the Department of Fisheries banned the killing of young Hilsa for eight months from November 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 to increase the population of Hilsa.

Earlier, fishermen were not allowed to enter the river for 22 days from October 13 to November 4 last year in order to help breed and conserve mother Hilsa.

However, after the end of all the bans, the season of Hilsa is going on now. But even this season, the desired Hilsa is not found in the Mongla region. 

Hilsa is not found even in the rivers of the Sundarbans. As a result, fishermen are spending their days in extreme despair.

Visiting the Hilsa Ghats at Chila and Jaymoni in Mongla Upazila on Thursday, fishermen were seen rushing into the river in nets, boats and trawlers in the hope of catching Hilsa this season. Although they roam the river from dawn to midnight, they do not find the desired Hilsa in their nets.

Fishermen Rashid Hawlader, Zahid Bipari and Zafar Hawlader of the area said, "Every day in the season full of Hilsa, on an average, we get three or four Hilsa. 

In this busy season, we earn income all year round by fishing. So I bought a boat and a net from an NGO and went down to the river. But after throwing the net all day, he had to return home disappointed as we did not get any fish. In this situation, we have to live a dehumanized life with our family.”

Bidut Mandal, president of the Mongla Upazila Fishermen's Association, said, "We couldn't do anything else during the lockdown." The help we have received from the government is much less than the demand. Now we don't have the means to run our families.

Senior Upazila Fisheries Officer Md Zahidul Islam said the depth is decreasing due to siltation in the river. 

Because of this, Hilsa is moving in the other direction.

He added that another major reason for not getting Hilsa is that unscrupulous fishermen are fishing with poison in the rivers adjacent to the Sundarbans. 

Other species of fish including Hilsa are dying by consuming this poisonous water. As fishes are moving to another route for fear of that poisoned water, so Hilsa is not available in Pashur and Sundarbans rivers.

Dr. Md. Abdur Rauf, Head Professor, Department of Fisheries and Marine Resource Technology, Khulna University, said, due to the amount of siltation in water, fishes find it hard to breath. Thus the amount of Hilsa is less in the region.