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Coastal fishermen frustrated with poor catch of ilish

Staff Reporter:

Fishermen of the coastal districts, mainly those from Patuakhali, are caught by surprise as they find no or little amount of ilish in the Bay of Bengal following a 60-day ban.

The ban on catching, selling and transporting the national fish that ended on April 30 is expected to increase the production of ilish in the Bay. But in Patuakhali, most of them are frustrated and are returning empty-handed.

Fishermen of different areas, including Kuakata and Alipur-Mahipur, have incurred debts due to the fishing ban imposed considering the ilish-breeding season. Due to the scarcity of fish, nearly 30,000 fishermen in the coastal villages are now spending days at home.

Some fishermen even bought new boats and nets with loans from moneylenders but are now keeping themselves busy in small talk and watching television programs.

Abdur Rahman, a worker at Mahipur fishing port, said due to the scarcity of fish, there is nothing to do for most fishermen.

Abu Zafar Howladar, owner of Dhulasar Fish Farm, said fish are scarce in the sea. Trawlers are returning empty-handed, he added.

Didar Uddin Ahmed Masum, owner of Timon Fish Farm in Mohipur, said he is incurring losses due to a lack of fishes in the Bay.

Kalapara Upazila Fisheries Officer Apu Saha said ilish is a deep sea fish. Due to the effects of climate change, extreme heat, and a lack of rain, fishes are not coming to the coastal waters. He hoped that enough fishes will come to the area once the weather condition improves.

He stressed that the movement of ilish in Ramnabad, Agunmukha, Andharmanik and Baleshwar estuaries has been reduced due to the underwater shoals created near the coastal line adjacent to Kuakata.

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