Hilsa catching continues despite punitive steps

A section of fishermen are catching hilsa in different rivers of the district despite ‘massive’ drives against netting the delicious fish.

The government on October 5 imposed an 11-day ban on catching, selling and transporting hilsa to ensure safe spawning of this popular fish during its peak breeding period. The ban will go on Thursday.

Though the officials of the Fisheries Department have claimed success in protecting mother hilsa from being caught due to ‘massive’ drives in the last nine days, hilsa is still being netted in plenty in different rivers of the district.

Fishermen were found catching hilsa in Tentulia, Paira, Lohalia, Buragourango, Kalabador, Kazal, and Montaz rivers early yesterday though the restriction is still in force.

Contacted, SM Azharul Islam, acting district fisheries officer (DFO), said they conducted over 50 drives in different rivers from October 5 to 11 and seized 2.5 tonnes of hilsa.

At least 27 fishermen were sent to jail while 27 others fined during the period, the DFO said, adding that they seized 3.66 lakh metres of nets worth over Tk 1.12 crore from different rivers and destroyed them with fire.

Sources said several hundred trawlers are now staying in the Bay and netting hilsa, defying the ban. They will return to the shore just after ending the ban on October 15, sources added.

Around 30,000 metres current nets, seized by coastguards and fisheries officials during anti-hilsa netting drives at Gazaria point of the River Megna yesterday, are being destroyed with fire near Munshiganj launch terminal.

Our Chandpur correspondent reported that a magistrate was injured in an attack by fishermen during a drive at Gobindia area in the River Megna yesterday morning.

The incident occurred when a mobile court led by Magistrate Rajibul Haque launched a drive in the area at around 8:00am. The fishermen threw brick chips on the magistrate, leaving him injured. He received treatment at Chandpur Sadar Hospital.

Coastguards had to fire at least 21 blank shots to bring the situation under control. They arrested three fishermen and seized 25 kg mother hilsa and nets during the drive. The mobile court later sentenced the fishermen to one year’s imprisonment each for netting hilsa, defying the ban.

According to the district administration, around 400 fishermen and 40 buyers were jailed in the last eight days for netting and buying hilsa defying the ban.

At least 1,000 buyers were fined while 40 other sent to jail by mobile courts.

The law enforcers also seized 50 maunds of mother Hilsa from different points of the Meghna during the period.

In Manikganj, a mobile court yesterday fined 22 fishermen for catching Hilsa at Aricha ghat, defying the ban, reports UNB.

Shibalaya police said the court led by Shibalaya upazila nirbahi officer Galib Khan, also executive magistrate, launched a drive at the ghat and detained the 22 fishermen along with 40 kg Hilsa.

Later, the fishermen were produced before the court that fined them Tk 500 each.

Away in Munshiganj, A mobile court seized 50 kg mother hilsa and 30,000 metres current nets during drives in the Padma in Mawa area yesterday, according to our correspondent.

The court also fined nine fishermen for catching hilsa in the river, defying ban.


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