The Sheikh Hasina government of Bangladesh has allowed the export of another 2,520 tonnes of hilsa to Bengal.
The ministry of commerce of that country on Thursday issued an order allowing 63 of its hilsa dealers to export 40 tonnes each to Bengal.
The clearance came within three days of the ministry allowing export of over 2,000 tonnes of hilsa to the state as a Puja gift. The local markets in Kolkata received a part of the first consignment of around 20 tonnes of hilsa on Wednesday and Thursday.
Fish traders in Kolkata said the decision to allow traders export over 4,500 tonnes of hilsa to Bengal was by far the biggest the Bangladesh government has allowed in recent years.
Last September, Bangladesh’s ministry of commerce had allowed export of 1,400 tonnes of the Padma variety to Bengal.
“The more the merrier,” said Syed Anwar Maqsood, the secretary of the West Bengal Fish Importers’ Association. “With such a huge supply we would be able to take the produce of Bangladesh to all the markets in Bengal this time.”
Fish traders in the biggest wholesale markets of Kolkata and Howrah have been keenly waiting for the arrival of the Padma variety this year since the domestic yield has been very poor and the stock of the Myanmar variety is almost exhausted.
“With more volume of the produce from the Padma reaching us, the prices would come down,” said Gouranga Das, a fish trader in the Maniktala market.
The production of hilsa in Bengal has dwindled from around 80,000 tonnes in 2001 to around 10,000 tonnes in 2017 largely because of excess fishing in the Bay of Bengal.
The Bengal government has now banned catching of hilsa between April 15 and June 14, the breeding season of the fish. Bangladesh, in comparison, has been able to check the declining hilsa population by banning fishing during the breeding period and by establishing sanctuaries for the fish.
Hilsa importers in Kolkata said the size of the Padma variety would vary between 800gm to 1.2kg.