What is the significance of Hilsa Fish Imports of India from Bangladesh?

The Bangladesh Government recently granted permission for traders to export Hilsa fish to India in the view of forthcoming Durga Pooja. The Government of Bangladesh imposed a ban on export of Hilsa fish to India in 2012. However, the ban is usually lineated during festivals. In 2019, around 500 tonnes were imported from Bangladesh during Durga Pooja.

Hilsa Fish

It is an endemic species of Bangladesh. IT is usually called the “King of Fish” for its pleasant flavour and soft texture. The Hilsa fish is the National Fish of Bangladesh. The IUCN status of Hilsa fish is “Threatened”.

It is also called IIlish.

Concerns

Bangladesh stopped the export of Hilsa fish to India due to following reasons

  • Construction of dams, over exploitation and dumping of domestic and industrial wastes in to water bodies affected the population of the fish
  • The Hilsa fish was also affected by oil spills, especially from the old boats carrying fly ash from India to Bangladesh
  • The required amount of plankton was greatly reduced
  • There are more than 4 million fishermen involved in Hilsa fishing alone. This was the main reason of over exploitation
  • After the ban in 2012, the Hilsa fish was smuggled out of the country illegally. This caused huge loss for the Government of Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a shore of 75% world Hilsa fish production.

Habitat

The fish is present in Sundarbans. They cannot be farmed like other fishes due to their peculiar habitat. The adult fishes from the sea swims several kilometres from upstream to lay eggs in fresh water and return back to sea.

Apart from Ganges And Brahmaputra delta, the fish is also found in Godavari river of Andhra Pradesh. Bengalis include the fish as the major part of their food and offer it to goddess Lakshmi during Navarathri festival.

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