The Forest Department has detained 16 fishermen from the Sundarbans for catching Parshe (mullet) fries, during its breeding period from November-January, from the river and canals defying a ban.
A team of Forest Department (West) led by Zahirul Islam, officer-in-charge of Nilkomol Patrol Outpost, detained the fishermen around 4:30am on Thursday during a drive at the Bangabandhur Char area, said Divisional Forest Officer of Sundarbans West Forest Division Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain.
They also seized two fishing boats, he added. “A case has been filed under the Forest Act; the fishermen have been sent to Koyra Upazila Senior Judicial Magistrate Court.”
Fishermen of Shyamnagar, Koyra, Paikgacha, and Dakop surrounding the Sundarbans are using illegal nets to catch fish fries, reports UNB.
The fishermen illegally catch a large number of fish fries from the Sundarbans’ Alor Kol, Dublar Char, Batlurchar, Chachanangla, Poshur, Agun Jala, Kalir Char, Gera Chalki, Bajbaja, Hanshoraj, Andarmanik, Dhangmari; Chichkhali and Majjat rivers.
Due to the use of monofilament nets, Parshe fish fries and different species of fish are being killed.
Around 20-25 groups of 8-10 fishermen on engine-driven fishing boats are using 200-300-metre long and 40-50-metre wide nets to catch a maund of fish fries of different species in each haul every day.
Also, some forest officials tip the fishermen off when their senior officials prepare for conducting a drive in the Sundarbans. Next, the fishermen hide in the forest. And when the drive is over they resume their illegal fishing.
Poshur River Waterkeeper Coordinator Md Nur Alam Sheikh said a group of money lenders pay low-income fishermen a lot of money in advance to send them to the Sundarbans to make extra profit with fish fries.
Some forest officials and employees are also cooperating with them in exchange for a large amount of money, he added.