Home / Politics / Policy /  Govt to conduct survey on ‘Hilsa’ fish to save the species

New Delhi: Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has brought 20 kg of ‘Hilsa’ fish as gift for President Pranab Mukherjee during her ongoing India visit but the species has seen a consistent decline in the country.

Thus for its better conservation and management, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has now decided to conduct a study on it in the Ganga river.

The issue was discussed at the recent meeting of NMCG’s executive committee on 24th March.

The Hilsa fish, also known as ilish, is considered a delicacy in West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is easily counted amongst the most important and lucrative commercial fish of the Indo-Pacific region. Due to its unique taste and nutritional value, it is considered among the topmost food fishes. It thus provides direct or indirect livelihood to millions of fishers along the coastal and riverine stretches in its range of distribution.

As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Hilsa has witnessed a decreasing trend in India and Bangladesh. The main reasons behind its dwindling population are factors like indiscriminate and over-fishing, pollution and others that have pushed it towards extinction.

The meeting discussed the exploratory survey on Hilsa along up/down stream of Farakka barrage.

“In order to understand the migration behaviour and status of these species it is imperative to carry out the investigation on the status of life stages of Hilsa in and around Farakka barrage. The project is targeted for exploratory survey on Hilsa…and life stages availability along up/down stream of Farakka barrage," said the minutes of the meeting, which were reviewed by Mint.

The Committee approved a budget of about Rs2.5 million for the exploratory survey on Hilsa.

The main objectives behind the project are to assess the, “present catch of Hilsa in the main river (Ganga) up/down stream of Farakka barrage, feeder channel and in navigational channel".

It is also aimed at “assessment of availability of life stages of Hilsa in the selected stretches to establish its habitat".

The study will be conducted over a period of four months and the report will include a detailed data on catch, size, sex and maturity stages of Hilsa.

“In addition, data on the different life stages of Hilsa will be generated to understand the location and availability of the fish species for better conservation and management of Hilsa fishery in river Ganga," said the minutes.

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