Stop Jatka netting

Published : 25 Jan 2024 09:10 PM

Jatka (hilsa fry) catching is going on unabated in different rivers of the country despite constant vigilance by law enforcement agencies. River police and coastguards are seizing huge amount of Jatka and illegal current nets from the fishermen every day. 

Fishermen are also being held for illegally catching jatka. Members of different law enforcement agencies seized 181.42 crore meters of illegal current nets during the 22-day restriction on catching hilsa fish between October 12 and November 2 last year, according to media report.  Law enforcers also seized 477.28 crore meters of current nets in the last five years. A section of fishermen continues to net Jatka in different rivers defying a ban. 

The government imposed a ban on catching Jatka (hilsa fry less than nine inches in length) for seven months from November to increase hilsa production. But the fishermen are catching hilsa fry despite the ban.

There is no alternative to protecting Jatka and mother hilsa for increasing production of the national fish. If the production increases, the hilsa prices will come within the  affordability of all people.

A section of fishermen 

continues to net Jatka 

in different rivers 

defying a ban

The government measures, including jatka and mother hilsa conservation programme and sanctuary management, gave a massive boost to hilsa production as it almost doubled in 2023 compared to that in 2008. In fiscal 2022-23, hilsa production was 5.71 lakh metric tons which was 2.99 lakh metric tons in fiscal 2008-09, according to fisheries and livestock ministry.

Hilsa, a symbol of Bangali tradition and glory, which got recognition as geographical indication (GI) product in 2017, is the most favourite fish of the Bangalis because of its unique taste and smell. As a single species, it contributes about 12 per cent to the country's total fish production. 

The hilsa production has increased drastically thanks to the implementation of coordinated programmes by the government towards the development of hilsa resources. Hilsa production has increased by 92pc to 5.71 lakh metrick tons in the last 15 years. 

The government imposes a ban on catching, transporting, marketing, buying and selling, and stockpiling hilsa across the country during the breeding period every year and because of the ban hilsa production significantly. It will be possible to produce additional 600,000 tons of hilsa, if Jatka is properly conserved. Therefore, we all need to give more focus on protection of Jatka.