100 tonnes of hilsa from Bangladesh reaches Bengal, more on the way
Hilsa is often tagged as the Queen of Fish for its taste and the Bangladeshi-hilsa is considered to be tastier than its Indian counterpart.Updated: Sep 16, 2020 16:41 IST
With festive season round the corner, around 100 tonnes of the Bangladeshi hilsa fish have already reached the market in West Bengal, while another 1,350 tonnes is expected to arrive in a phased manner till October 10.
Hilsa is often tagged as the Queen of Fish for its taste and the Bangladeshi-hilsa is considered to be tastier than its Indian counterpart.
“This year they (Bangladesh government) are sending 1450 tonnes of hilsa, of which 100 tonnes have arrived since Monday. While around 20 tonnes arrived on Monday, another 40 tonnes reached on Tuesday. On Wednesday the remaining 40 tonnes have arrived,” said SA Maqsood, secretary of the Fish Importers’ Association in West Bengal.
In 2012, Bangladesh had imposed a ban on export of hilsa to India. The Sheikh Hasina government in 2019 decided to allow 500 tonnes of the fish as a puja gift to Bengal. The festive season starts from Thursday with the Vishwakarma Puja and the Mahalaya.
“The imported fish weigh between 600 grams to 1.2 kilos and costs around Rs 600 to Rs 1,300 per kilo. The Bangladeshi variety is tastier and more meaty and oily than the Indian counterparts,” said Maqsood.
This comes at a time when millions of Bengalis are facing a crippling shortage of their favourite fish.
This year many had thought that with cleaner rivers post-lockdown there would be a big hilsa harvest. Experts had said that as pollution in the river Ganga and its tributaries was less this year because of the lockdown, there were chances that schools of hilsa would migrate upstream to breed.
“But in reality the hilsa catch has gone down over the past three to four years. In 2016 there was a huge harvest of a few hundred tonnes. Compared to this we have been able to harvest less than 20 tonnes this year,” said Pranab Kumar Kar, chairman of United Fishermen Association, one of the largest associations of fishermen in West Bengal.
Monsoon is the main season when these fish are available. Such is the craving for Bangladeshi hilsa that the item is often smuggled through the porous Indo-Bangla border in south Bengal. The BSF have seized a few hundred kilos of Bangaldeshi hilsa this year.