Forest department detains 16 fishermen on Thursday midnight from the Sunderbans for catching Parshe fries defying a ban. — UNB photo

The Forest Department has detained 16 fishermen from the Sunderbans for catching Parshe fries, during its breeding period from November-January, from the river and canals defying a ban.

A team of Forest Department led by Nilkomol Patrol Outpost officer-in-charge Zahirul Islam detained the fishermen at about 4:30am on Thursday during a drive at the Bangabandhur Char area, said Divisional Forest officer of Sunderbans 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 Sunderbans are using illegal nets to catch fish fries.

The fishermen illegally catch a large number of fish fries from the Sunderbans’ 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 Sunderbans. 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 that a group of money lenders pay low-income fishermen a lot of money in advance to send them to the Sunderbans 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.

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