The silver fish hilsa is much pricier in the city kitchen markets despite abundant supply and price drops in the fishing hubs, said insiders.
July to August is the peak fishing time for hilsa, both in the rivers and the Bay. And the prices usually start to decline in the first week of July, according to the traders.
But the delicious fish was selling at Tk 900-1,550 a kg based on their size in the city kitchen markets for the last three weeks, according to kitchen market sources.
However, the current price of the national fish is five to 10 per cent higher than last year, according to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh(TCB).
A medium-sized hilsa of 700-850 gram was retailed at Tk 600-800 a piece while large-sized fish of over 950 gram was sold at Tk 900- Tk 2,100 a piece.
Bangladesh Fish Development Corporation (BFDC)-run pickup vans were selling riverine hilsa of above 1.0 kg at Tk 1,550 a kg.
Mostafa Bashar, a fish trader at Mohammadpur Krishi Market, said prices are higher for now as only riverine hilsas are available and a fishing ban is underway in the Bay since May 20.
The 65-day ban on fishing in the Bay will end on July 23, he added.
Hilsa are now being brought from Chandpur, Munshiganj, Char Ilisha, Char Pial and Bheduria of Bhola, Naria and Bhedorganj of Shariatpur, and Kalapara of Patuakhali and Barishal districts said Bashar.
He said prices might decline notably after the end of the fishing ban in the Bay in two weeks.
However, a huge price discrepancy of hilsa has been found between the fishing hubs and city markets.
The medium-sized hilsas ( 700- 850 gram) were selling at Tk 400-440 a kg at Andharmanik river bank in Patuakhali and Kirtonkhola river bank in Barshal. Similar-sized hilsas are being retailed at Tk 900 a kg in Dhaka, according to the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM).
DAM records showed that prices of hilsa dropped by 12 to 14 per cent in the fishing hubs in the last one week which is yet to be reflected in the city markets.
Hilsa production is expected to hit 0.52 million tonnes this year.
The silver fish comprises 13-14 per cent of the country’s total fish output, according to the Department of Fisheries.