Millennium Post

Drive to check fishing of small Hilsa

Kolkata: West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) will start a campaign from next Saturday to dissuade people from eating khoka or small Ilish (hilsa) and urge them to eat the large variety.

The Ilish festival will be observed from July 20 at Café Ekante in Eco Park and the Biswa Bangla Gate where the Hidco authorities will campaign with the slogan Eat Large, Save Small" to ensure that the Hilsa fish are allowed to grow to full size.

"We will be serving only large Ilish in the menu of Café Ekante and Biswa Bangla Gate restaurants. The tent cards on the tables of these restaurants will pass over the awareness message that our favourite Ilish is in danger due to overfishing and catching of small hilsa. This is resulting in lower number of full grown fishes. Let's pledge not to buy small fish and savour the taste of a full grown fish in the monsoon season," a senior Hidco official said.

Hidco will also draw attention to the fact that in the 60-day period from April 15 to June 14 every year, there is a ban on catching ilish.

The initiative will kick off through a rally from the artificial fish market within Banglar Gram in Eco Park on July 20.

"We will display large ilish fish. We will take these 'queens' by boat to Eco Park island's Cafe Ekante and exhibit cooked delicacies. It will be available in dinner menu then onwards, at Cafe Ekante and Kolkata Gate Hanging restaurant," the official added.

The state Fisheries department is also pushing hard to discourage people from eating small Ilish. Most of the fishes of the Hilsa variety that is eaten across the state is less than 500 gram. The fish takes at least two years to attain that weight. With an average live

expectancy of around four years, the fish may weigh up to 2.5 kilo. But these days that big Hilsa is far cry. However, fishes ranging from above 500 gm to 1.5 kg is available in the market.

Presently, the government doesn't have the power to arrest or fine anyone for selling, catching and buying small Hilsa.

The government can confiscate a catch of fish and fishing net from a trader or fisherman. There is also a ban on catching Hilsa during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon season when the fish migrates to the Hooghly river from the sea for laying eggs.

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