The News Scroll 06 August 2020  Last Updated at 4:57 pm | Source: PTI

Dip in hilsa catch worries fishermen in Bengal

Dip in hilsa catch worries fishermen in Bengal
Kolkata, Aug 6 (PTI) Belying promises of a bumper hilsa yield due to less pollution and the reduced economic activities in the seas amid the coronavirus crisis, the "silver crop" catch has dropped this season in West Bengal, an official said on Thursday.

The dip in hilsa yield has cast a dark shadow on the fortunes of the fishermen as about 25 per cent of the projected catch during the July-August period was achieved so far, Digha-Shankarpur Development Authority vice chairman Akhil Giri said.

"Around 800 trawlers have gone out to the sea from early July this year and most of them have returned empty- handed. About five days back, there was a negligible catch and this would be around 25 per cent of the projected hilsa yield in July-August," he told PTI.

As there was near-zero commercial activity in the seas and the rivers, and no industrial effluents were released into the water during the three-month hiatus, fish breeding, which is common during this season, was expected to pick up the pace, he said.

Lack of wind from the east, which makes the fish swim from the deep sea to the coast to lay eggs, is the main reason why fewer hilsa in July has been caught, Giri said.

"We keep our fingers crossed to recover part of the losses incurred in the current season," a fisherman said.

Echoing Giri, Kakdwip Matso Unnayan Samity''s general secretary Bijon Maity said the hilsa catch in July has dipped this year as compared to the haul in the corresponding period last year.

"Compared to the yield in the last 20 years, the hilsa haul has been the lowest between July 15 and August 5 this season. Fishermen could manage to net 5-7 metric tonne in August so far. The average catch in the Kakdwip belt is about 2,000 tonne for a season," he said.

Fishermen of about 1,200 trawlers in the Kakdwip area in South 24 Parganas district are suffering losses this year, Maity said.

The Hooghly river meets the Bay of Bengal near Sunderbans in South 24 Parganas district, and the confluence happens to be the breeding ground for hilsa, which moves from the sea to the river around this time of the year.

Asked whether the coronavirus scare is keeping fishermen from going out to sea in large groups in trawlers, Giri said the association of the traders has adopted all precautionary measures to contain the spread of the disease.

"No one of 1,600 trawlers in the Digha-Shankarpur belt has tested positive for the disease. The dip in the hilsa catch cannot be linked to less number of boats venturing into the sea," he said. PTI SUS BDC BDC

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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