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Bangladesh to review hilsa export to India, says official

Hilsa scarcity forces Dhaka to "temporarily" limit its export to India and this ban will be lifted with the fish's local availability.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Dhaka
UPDATED ON JUL 10, 2007 01:09 PM IST

Scarcity of hilsa fish has forced Bangladesh to "temporarily" restrict its export to India and the ban would be revised with the normal availability of the delicious fish in local markets, officials said on Monday.

"An inter-ministerial meeting earlier this week decided to temporarily stop the hilsha export as its price went beyond ordinary people's reach because of non availability in local markets though Bangladesh is the main breeding ground of hilsha," Fisheries Ministry spokesman Dewan Faruque told PTI.

He added that the meeting also decided to restore the export when the price comes down with the normal availability of the fish.

His comments came as reports said India might suspend exporting rice following Bangladesh's decision to ban export of hilsa.

"We have no idea about the India's decision as we have not received any such communication," Faruque said.
Foreign secretary Touhid Hossain on Sunday told reporters that he too was yet to be conveyed officially the Indian decision but expected the commerce and fisheries ministries to review the matter in view of the reports.

Fisheries department studies earlier suggested that production of hilsha, Bangladesh's national fish has reduced by 60 per cent in two decades.

Experts blamed the phenomenon on over-exploitation, morphological changes and pollution in rivers and the sea while according to fisheries department statistics, since 1983 the availability of the species, continued to reduce in inland rivers.

"Sixty per cent of the roaming ground of the hilsa fish has been destroyed in the past two to three decades," a fish research institute official said.

According to literature on fish resources, the roaming ground of hilsa ranges from Persian Gulf to Gulf of China through Bay of Bengal.

But 60 per cent of hilsa are produced in Bangladesh with India, Myanmar and Pakistan being other major hilsha producing countries.

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