Bangladesh lifts ban on export of Hilsa fish

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Kolkata, Feb 11 : Foodies in Kolkata deprived of chicken due to the incidence of bird flu and feeling deprived of their cherished 'Hilsa' (a fish variety) after Bangladesh banned export to India, can finally relish the delicacy, as the ban has been lifted.

People are happy that the fish will now be available throughout the year.

Importers feel that it is a golden opportunity to make up for last year's loss, as business was lost during the prime six months due to the ban.

"Taking into consideration that it is off season when people don't even think about the Hilsa, we are getting fresh hilsa and it tastes just like it does in the monsoon season," said Syed Anwar Maasood, Secretary, fish importer association.

"The fish that we get in February will be available throughout the year. Bangladesh banned fish exports a few months back, but now it is good that they have resumed the exports," Jaidev Das, a fish retailer.

Fish retailers said that the prices of Hilsa in winter are comparatively low, between Rs 150-300 a kilogram depending on the size, but last year during the monsoon it touched Rs 350-500 a kilogram.

Importers are thrilled and claim that on a week day, the import of Hilsa is about 35-40 metric tonnes.

"We buy fish from here and take it to the market for selling. Everyone is buying fishes in large quantities and Bengalis are relishing the authentic delicacy after the ban," Bhajan Das, a fish retailer.

The silvery Hilsa, swarm into Bangladesh rivers from the Bay of Bengal between June and September.

Last year due to the scarcity of Hilsa fish in the West Bengal market, prices skyrocketed, making it out of reach for common folk.

Bangladesh exports about five billion taka (US70 million dollars) of Hilsa annually, mostly to India.

ANI

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