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Is overfishing killing the hilsa fish in India's Bengal? June 05,2012   |  Source: Zee News

It is the ultimate in Bengali cuisine and Bengalis in both India and Bangladesh swear by the delicate taste of this premium fish. But the hilsa, or ilish as Bengalis know it, may soon disappear from Bengali homes due to man's greed.

In the past few years, the population of the silvery white fish has been steadily declining in West Bengal's rivers - all due to human beings upsetting the natural balance.

Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) is an anadramous fish - it mainly lives in the ocean but travels to rivers to spawn. After spawning, it travels back to the sea and is caught by fishermen.

However, over the past few years, fishermen have been catching adult fish as they travel from sea to river. They also catch juveniles ('khokha' in Bangla) on their way back to the sea as well as the fish eggs, considered a delicacy.

The results are there for all to see. "The dwindling population on the Bengal coast for the last decade has made everybody anxious whether the availability will be more or less sufficient or not," Shib Das from the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences in Kolkata told IANS.

Not just the fishermen, the consumers too are to blame. Earlier, many Bengalis would not eat hilsa in the season when the juveniles would swim from the river to the sea. But

 

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Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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