It is a very cliched thing to say that Bengalis love fish, its an emotion for us Bengalis especially ‘ilish’ (hilsa) and ‘chingri’ (prawn). So, when we are told to stay away from fish or not to consume them for some health issues, something inside us just dies. During the monsoons, the demand for hilsa rises extremely, along with its price. To meet the demands suppliers latch on the small hilsas as well, locally known as ‘Khoka ilish’. In the process, the suppliers are endangering the number of full-grown hilsa overall. The Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation or HIDCO sensed the intensity of the matter and thought of starting a campaign from Saturday. The main objective of their campaign is to raise awareness among people and urge them not to consume small hilsa. HIDCO will also organize hilsa festival ‘Ilish Parbon’ in New Town at a restaurant in Eco Park and Bishwa Bangla Gate. The slogan for this festival is ‘Eat Large, Save, Small’, and the authorities have decided to only serve big and full-grown hilsa at the festival. A HIDCO official said,
“Hilsa is in danger. The number of full-grown hilsa has gone down because the fish is being caught young. We want to spread the message that hilsa can be relished most when it is full-grown. In fact, there is a 60-day period each year- from April 15 to June 14- when there is a ban on hilsa fishing to ensure that the fish can grow.”
The cooked dishes will be put on display and be available on the dinner menu at the restaurants. The officials also plan on holding a rally from Banglar Gram in Eco Park, the full-grown hilsa will be showcased in the evening there.