An eight-month-long countrywide ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting 'jatka' (hilsa fry less than 25 centimetres in length) will begin on Thursday aiming to increase production.
District and divisional fishery officers said the authorities imposed the 22-day ban on catching hilsa fry from 1 November to 30 June across 7,000 square kms of coastal, estuarial and riverine areas to ensure free breeding of the popular fish.
During the period, the government will provide assistance to the fishermen, they said.
Dr Anisur Rahman, the chief scientific officer of Chandpur Fisheries Research Institute said the hilsa mothers have already started to move towards the coastal areas for laying eggs. A Hilsa can lay 2.1 million eggs.
Zia Haider, a fisheries officer of Bagerhat zone, said if the ban will be followed strictly, at least five lakh metric tons of hilsa production is possible in the next season.
The government will provide 40 Kgs of rice to the fishermen per head in each month during the ban, he said.
According to the fisheries department, there are 1.6-2 million registered fishermen in the country and of them, 39,103 are in the district, he said.
Following the government move to increase hilsa production, some 4,96,000 metric tons of hilsa were produced in the fiscal year 2016-2017 while it increases to 5,90,000 in the fiscal year 2017-2018, he added.
Rafiqul Islam and Abu Taleb, two fishermen of Sharankhola uapzila, said the government should have to provide food to those fishermen who will refrain from catching fish during the ban.
Wishing not to be named, a fisherman said the government will have to take action against those factories involved in producing thinly knitted nets.