Demand for Bangladeshi ilish spikes in Indian states like West Bengal during Durga Puja
Bangladesh has started exporting ilish to India after temporarily relaxing the ban on its export, with less than a month left for Durga Puja – the biggest religious festival of the Hindu community.
Eight companies sent 104 tons of ilish to India through Benapole land port on Wednesday, kicking off the export, said Abul Hasan, senior fisheries officer of the upazila, according to media reports.
Earlier, the government gave the go-ahead to 52 companies to export as much as 2,080 tons of ilish to India by October 10.
Durga Puja will be celebrated from October 11 to October 15 this year.
Demand for ilish during Durga Puja is very high in Indian states like West Bengal as the Bangladeshi ilish, found in the Padma River, is considered to be tastier than the ones found in the Ganges.
Although ilish exports have long been halted, Bangladesh allows exports of its national fish on a limited scale during Durga Puja as a goodwill gesture.
The ban was imposed on August 1, 2012 to keep ilish prices affordable in the local market.
Bangladesh accounts for more than 80% of the world's ilish production.
Ilish production in Bangladesh has gone up by 159.76% in the last 15 years, owing to the government's efforts, including the ban on catching brood fish and fries.
A 22-day ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transporting of ilish will come into effect from October 4 in order to protect egg-bearing ilish.