Bangladesh government has earned $13.6 million from exporting 1,352 tons of hilsa fish to India this year so far, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim said on Thursday. 

Hilsa production has doubled in the last 12 years and the rate of production is now 90%, he said.

The minister revealed this information while speaking at a press briefing on “Mother hilsa conservation drive 2022”, held at the Secretariat.

Like every year, the government is going to impose a 22-day ban on hilsa fishing – from October 7 to 28, he said.

Hilsa catching, selling and transporting will remain prohibited in the 7,000 square km area during the period to ensure the safe spawning of the hugely popular fish during its peak breeding period, he added.

“Those found violating the law will face legal action including imprisonment and fine. None will be spared,” said the minister.

Besides, the government will take strict action against those involved in creating any obstruction on the development of hilsa resources.

During this ban period all activities including catching, selling and transportation of hilsa will be prohibited in 20 districts including Chandpur, Laxmipur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Dhaka, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Faridpur, Rajbari, Manikganj and Munshiganj districts, he said.

The ice factories of the districts will be closed as well during the ban, he added.

Meanwhile, fishermen of 18 districts including Gopalganj, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Tangail, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Pabna, Sirajganj, Natore, Bogra, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Brahmanbaria, Khulna, Kushtia, Narail and Jamalpur districts will be allowed to catch other fish except hilsa.

Mobile courts will conduct drives day and night in all rivers of 38 districts, fisheries ghat, wholesale markets, chain shops and other markets to discourage people from catching and selling hilsa fish, he said.

Alongside police, local administration, Navy personnel, Air Force, Coast Guard, RAB, river police and Fisheries Department will jointly conduct the drives.

Meanwhile, dredging work in different rivers will be suspended during this period to ensure smooth spawning of hilsa, he said.

Hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh, is recognized as a certified patented product of Bangladesh.

Nearly 600,000 people of Bangladesh are involved in catching hilsa directly while 2-2.5 million people are involved in transporting, selling and other activities indirectly.

Thanks to government initiatives, production of hilsa has increased to 5.65 lakh metric tonnes in 2020-21 fiscal year while it was 2.98 lakh metric tonnes in 2008-09 FY.

Last year, nearly 51.76%of mother hilsa were able to lay eggs during the ban period, boosting production and hilsa export to India.

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