Hilsha fish is national fish of Bangladesh. People in our country like this fish very much. It is very delicious and nutritious. There is a proverb that ‘Vat-e Mas-e Bangali’ (Bangladeshis are fond of rice and fish). Pohela Boishakh (1st Day of Bengali Year) is celebrated by eating fried Hilsha fish with Panta Rice. New or rich guests are entertained by the Hilsha fish. We get sufficient protein from Hilsha fish. Our national economy is being developed by exporting Hilsha Fish. Not only have these, Hilsha fishes also contribute 1% in our GDP. In the world about 60% Hilsha fishes are found in Bangladesh.
Hilsha fish is migratory kind of fishes. Hilsha fishes come from the channel (mouth) of rivers from the sea due to spawn in the Bangladesh. After laying eggs they returned to the sea. From six to seven months these young Hilsha fishes stay in the rivers or channels and then they go to the sea being maturity. Hilsha fishes are found almost all the big rivers in Bangladesh. Mainly Hilsha fishes are found in the Padma, Meghna, Jomuna, Brohmoputra and low land area of Southern part of Bangladesh. In the rainy season Hilsha fishes are found more in the Padma, Meghna and Jomuna.
In the decade of 90th, Hilsha fish productions were decreasing due to several reasons, like as: effecting of the Farakka Dam, making dams for irrigation or controlling flood, water pollution, catching young Hilsha fish etc.
As it is a national fish the Government of Bangladesh tries to protect this Hilsha fish by taking some steps. Such as: in 2003-04 Govt. declared to stop catching young Hilsha fish and mother of Hilsha fish. Rallies, seminars, distributing flyers were arranged by the Govt. due to increase awareness. Fishermen and businessmen were organized to protect this silver wealth of Bangladesh.
The Natural gift and the mercy of God, these Hilsha fishes are very dear to the people of Bangladesh and India. Day by day its demand is increasing to the people of Bangladesh and India. On last June- July of 2007, a problem occurred between India & Bangladesh for the Hilsha fish. Due to high demand of Hilsha fish in India, the businessmen and the fishermen of Bangladesh exported most of the Hilsha fish to India and as a result the people of Bangladesh was bereft of Hilsha fish. At that time Hilsha fishes were valuable and difficult to obtain in Bangladesh. People and Newspaper of Bangladesh started to publish the real situation of Hilsha fish and then on 4th July of 2007, the present Care- Taker Govt. stopped to export Hilsha fish to our neighbor country India for six months. Though govt. could not stop the whole dishonest businessmen who send Hilsha fishes to the India in unlawful way; day by day Hilsha fish became available in Bangladesh.
Conversely, people of India also pressured to the local Govt. of India to solve this problem as they also like Bangladeshi’s famous Hilsha fish!!!!