Dhaka: The Bangladesh government on Wednesday imposed a 22-day ban on Hilsa fishing across 27 districts of the country to sustain the population of the popular food fish, said a government official.
The Hilsa fish move from coastal areas to the Padma and Meghna rivers to lay eggs around this time and bans imposed during the last few years were successful in sustaining their population, said Chandpur Fisheries Chief Scientific Officer and Hilsa Specialist Md Anisur Rahman.
Catching, selling, transportation, storage and also exchange of the most-sought food fish species was banned across the country and particularly across the 7,000 sq. km. designated area of Hilsa breeding zone, bdnews24 reported.
Fishermen on the Padma and Meghna rivers in Munshiganj, Chandpur, Laxmipur and Barisal were forbidden from using their fishing nets to catch Hilsa.
The Hilsa fish are from the herring family and part of the Bengali cuisine and popular among a large population in India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries — Malaysia, Thailand, China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Officials said fishermen observing the ban in the 76 sub-districts would be compensated with 20 kg of rice each by the Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management.
The government has deployed coast guards, naval police and other security forces to ensure that the ban is observed.
Anyone found flouting the ban could face a fine up to Taka 10,000, (around Rs 8,500) or confiscation of his fishing equipment and even a prison term for two years, said Chandpur Fisheries official Md Safiqur Rahman.
According to an estimate of the fisheries department, the hilsa output during the fiscal 2014-15 was 385,000 tonnes, while it rose to more than 400,000 tonne in 2015-16.
There was hardly any Hilsa business in the last five to seven years, but tough measures by the Bangladesh government ensured that Hilsa fish were available almost everywhere between 2014-16, Fisheries Minister Muhammed Sayedul Hoque said.