Though Bangladesh government’s ban on Hilsa exports to India may continue this year, lovers of the fish need not be disheartened like last year as fishermen in the state have recorded a good catch in the last three to four days. Fishermen in Diamond Harbour and Digha have been lucky in the last few days, and of the two places, the catch has been much better in Diamond Harbour.
According to sources, on an average, five to six tonnes of Hilsa have been caught daily over the last three to four days in Diamond Harbour, where eight tonnes was caught on Sunday. The recent catch weighs between 400 grams to 700 grams. At the same time, only 2.5 tonnes of Hilsa was caught at Digha.
According to a businessman, though this news is good, it is nothing when compared to the consumption of fish. According to sources, such yield would not be able to fill up the gap that has been created after the ban was slapped by the Bangladesh government.
Sources said the smaller fish are available in the retail market for Rs. 350 per kg while the price of the larger fish is around Rs. 450 per kg.
The Hilsa, which had been tickling the taste buds of Bengalis for generations, had seen a sharp fall in output in the last decade, prompting India to export the fish from Bangladesh in order to fill the gap between demand and supply.
The Bangladesh government had imposed the ban on August 2012. Before the ban was imposed, Indian importers could only manage to import between 40 to 50 tonnes of the fish daily.
The amount of Hilsa catch in the rivers of Bengal has fallen from 50,000 tonnes to 16,000 tonnes between 2011 and 2012 and there is little possibility that the demand for the fish could be met in the next few years.