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POST TIME: 25 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM
Big hilsas flood Barishal market, prices tumble
Staff Reporter, Barishal

Big hilsas flood Barishal market, prices tumble

Large hilsas have flooded the Barishal market in the second season (Jan–Feb) after 12 years, forcing prices down.  District fisheries officer Bimal Chandra Das said favourable environmental conditions have boosted the breeding of hilsas after they almost disappeared since 2008. After visiting the hilsa wholesale market in the Port Road area of the city, it was found that large hilsas, netted in Barishal rivers, has flooded the market. The sudden surge in supply has brought down the prices compared to what it was last year.

Fish traders say at least 1,000 maunds of large hilsas have reached the market, making the traders, packers, and buyers busy. These hilsas are being sent to Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, and other areas of the country. Fishermen said the hilsas are between 700 gm and 1,200 gm. In previous years, such quantities of large hilsas were not available during winter. Barisal Port Road wholesale hilsa market trader Ujjal Das said a huge supply of large hilsas for the last three days has brought the prices down. Now, hilsas weighing over one kg are selling for Tk 800. Those weighing below 1,000 gm are being sold for Tk 650–700. Last year, they were sold for Tk 1200 and Tk 800, respectively.

“We do not know why such huge big quantities of big hilsas were suddenly caught in this winter season,” said Lokman Hosen, a hilsa trader. Sentu Mia, another fisherman, said the upstream flow of the rivers this year was greater than in the previous year. That could have been a factor behind the haul of large hilsas in the local rivers, he added.

According to the local fishermen, most of the hilsas were caught from different southern rivers, especially the Elisha, the Meghna, and the Kalabdar, under Bhola and Barishal districts of the division. Bimal Chandra Das said the government has taken various steps to protect and ensure the safe breeding of the hilsa, making the increase in supply possible.  He also said hilsas arrive here twice a year—during the July–October and January–February periods. But from 2008 they had stopped coming in winter, he added.

He also claimed that the recent surge indicates the success of their anti-jatka drives and protecting the hilsa breeding grounds. Anisur Rahman, hilsa researcher and chief scientific officer of the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) at the Chandpur centre, said that the main hilsa season is from August to October. There is also another short season from November to January. So, it is not unusual to get large hilsas in winter, he added.