With good catches this season, thousands of fishermen are engaged in netting fishes and drying them in the Sundarbans near the Bay of Bengal.
Fishermen from different areas of the country build makeshift houses in five 'fish colonies', namely, Durbar Char, Madhyarkilla, Meher Ali Char, Narakelbaria and Sheler Char areas of Sharankhola upazila in Bagerhat under Sundarbans East Division for catching, processing, and marketing of dried fish.
Through paying revenue, depot owners and bahaddars (people serving as link between depot owners and fishermen) take permission from the Sundarbans East Division for catching fish, said Akkas Ali, a fisherman of Kachua upazila.
Hundreds of trawlers and boats carrying fishermen go for fishing in the Bay. After due processing, they dry the fish in the sun. Various species of fishes including bhola, rupchanda, leeta, khayra, baspata, large pomas, small pomas, lacca, shaplapata, and shrimps are dried there.
"Now fishes are available. We do the risky job of fishing in the sea as it brings good earning. The work continues for five to six months a year,” said Motalab Sheikh, a resident of Sharonkhola upazila of Bagerhat.
“This season we are netting fishes with relative ease as sea robbers are not that active due to the surveillance of the law enforcers,” said Kubbat Ali, a fisherman from Kachua upazila of Bagerhat.
Shahidul Mallik, a depot owner of Pirojpur, said the fishermen's risky job in the sea also earns huge revenue for the government.
If the government arranges interest-free loan for the fishermen, this sector will see further development and bring more foreign currency, he added.
“In this fish drying season, about 50,000 fishermen are staying in 870 houses under 38 depot owners. This year there is a possibility of collecting revenue of around Tk 3 crore,” said Mahmudul Hasan, forest officer of Sundarbans East Division.