B'desh allows export of over 2K tonne of Hilsa to Bengal

Kolkata: The fish-loving Bengalis have something to cheer about ahead of Durga Puja with the Bangladesh government allowing traders to export 2080 metric tonnes of Hilsa to Bengal. The first consignment is expected to reach by Wednesday-Thursday.

Bengalis have been craving for quality Hilsa fish as the available stock has not been able to tickle the taste buds. The domestic yield has been very poor this year and the stock of the Myanmar variety is also getting exhausted fast.

"The consignment is a goodwill gesture on part of the Bangladesh government. From our experience last year, we believe that the quality will be good. The sizes will vary between 500 gm and 1.5 kg, and so, it will be affordable for the middle class as well as the upper class. The news is like music to the ears of fish lovers as well as traders associated with import and export ahead of the Durga Puja," Bijan Maity, general secretary of Kakdwip Fishermens' Association said.

A fish trader in Howrah rued that the amount that will be exported will be negligible with the total consumption in the state being over 30,000 to 40,000 metric tonne on an average.

"There has been no communication regarding the export of Hilsa as yet to our department. However, I have received information from a section of traders and wholesalers that the Bangladesh government has given the license for sending 2080 metric tonne of Hilsa to Bengal," Akhil Giri, the state Fisheries minister said.

The production of Hilsa — the most iconic fish of the Bengali culinary pantheon — has dwindled from around 80,000 tonne in 2001 to around 10,000 tonne in 2017, largely because of excess fishing in the Bay of Bengal. About 8,000 tonne of Hilsa has been netted this year against 37,000 tonne three years back.

At least 52 fish trading companies have been given the nod by the Commerce ministry in Bangladesh and each of them can export 40 metric tonne of Hilsa. The export will be allowed till October 10.

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