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Hilsa catch in rivers drops drastically

Hilsa catch from rivers has dropped over the last few years though the catch in the off-shore Bay registered a rise, officials of the Department of Fisheries said.
They said gross production of hilsa has increased over the years since 1989 due to increased catch of hilsa from the country’s maritime areas in the Bay of Bengal.Supply of the river Hilsa, which are popular for aromatic flavors and delicious taste, has been reducing due to siltation, pollution of water, overfishing, change of river course and control of upstream water, fisheries experts told New Age.
According to the fisheries department, some 1.12 lakh tonnes of Hilsa from rivers were produced in 1989-1990 fiscal year.
With fluctuating trends in productions over the years, a fisheries department chart showed that some 1.14 lakh tonnes of Hilsa were caught in 2009-10 fiscal year, marking the highest record of catch from the rivers. But inland catch of Hilsa from rivers remained downward in the last three years.
Admitting the downward trends of Hilsa catch from inland rivers, Dr Nirmal Chandra Roy, assistant director (Jatka preservation) said it was due to geographical, environmental and manmade reasons.
When hilsa starts migrating from the saltwater in the sea to freshwater they keep on getting fat and increase aromatic flavours and tastes.
The government initiatives including conservation
of jatka in many sanctuaries have increased production of Hilsa fish, he said.
Md. Kawser Ahmed, chairman and professor of Oceanography Department in Dhaka University, told New Age on Tuesday that the inland catch of Hilsa has been decreasing over the years but their catch adjacent to coastal areas in the Bay remained high.
Nobody knows about stock of Hilsa and other fishes in the sea and rivers, as there was ‘no survey’ ever conducted on pelagic species of fishes that lived on the surface water of the seas, he said.
Through survey, it only possible to know the ‘Maximum Sustainable Yield’ of fishes, very essential to scientifically guess species’ stock over an indefinite period, he said.
Kawser Ahmed also said research should be done on ocean current in the Bay of Bengal as Hilsa fish migrated to the sea of the neighboring countries due to ocean current.
Fisheries officials said total contribution of
Hilsa to fisheries
supplies is maximum 11 per cent and one per cent to the GDP.
Some 3.40 lakh tonnes of Hilsa were produced in 2010-11 fiscal year while 3.46 lakhs tonnes produced in 2011-12.

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