Scientists have raised alarm over the exploitation of hilsa, Tenualosa ilisha, undoubtedly the most sought after fish in West Bengal and suggested a cap on its maximum sustainable yield per year.A paper titled Present Status of the Sustainable Fishing Limits for Hilsa Shad in the northern Bay of Bengal, India, published earlier this year by scientists from the School of Oceanographic Studies (SOS), Jadavpur University, points out that the value of recorded fishing mortality has exceeded the sustainable fishing mortality over the past few years, putting the species in danger.“To conserve the hilsa population in its natural habitat, the hilsa fishery needs suitable fishing regulations, restricting the number of fishing boats within 3,987 and maximum allowable hilsa catch (Maximum Sustainable Yield) at 25,440 tonnes per year in the northern Bay of Bengal region,” the publication states.This is the first attempt to measure the maximum sustainable yield of the hilsa species, particularly in West Bengal and offshore, Sugata Hazra, director, SOS, who is the principal investigator of the research and one of the authors of the publication said. The paper published in the National Academy of Sciences has also been authored by Isha Das, Sourav Das, Sandip Giri and Sourav Maity.Penal provisionWest Bengal Fishing Minister Chandranath Sinha admitted that the over-exploitation of the species is something which concerns the State government. “We are considering a proposal of having penal provisions for those who catch hilsa less than 500 grams of weight. Even those who buy the fish will be penalised,” Mr Sinha told The Hindu.Based on the advice of experts, the State government had issued notification of declaring five areas of the river Ganga, including a five sq.km. area around sand bars located in the rivers Matla, Roymongal and Thakuran in Sunderbans, where the river meets the sea as a hilsa sanctuary. As per regulations, all fish catching activities in these hilsa sanctuaries are prohibited from June to August and October to December.But according to experts these restrictions are far from being implemented at the ground level. The paper documents hilsa yield across three major fish landing centres — Digha, Diamond Harbour and Fraserganj in West Bengal — from 2002 to 2015 whic dropped to 13, 405 tonnes from 32,100 tonnes. In 2010, the hilsa yield was abnormally high in the State at 60,460 tonnes, which scientist say was an exception and could have have been triggered by global climate events.According to Professor Hazra, the publication points out that the hilsa fishery in the northern Bay of Bengal is “being unsustainably exploited” and the over fishing about 38% over the past few years (2012-16) has been noticed after comparing the fishing mortality.The publication points out that the annual catch has decreased by 13 % over the past decade and that the hilsa fishery in the northern Bay of Bengal is targeting smaller fish, which is unsustainable in the long run. Hilsa or ilish, as it is called in West Bengal is intrinsically linked to the culture of the State and makes 11% of the total fish catch of the State.Professor Hazra said that if the catch is regulated for a period about five years, the population will stabilise.
The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to reconstitute a Bench to continue monitoring a CBI probe into alleged extra-judicial killings by the Army, the Assam Rifles and the police in Manipur when insurgency was at its peak.The case has been in the back-burner since Justice Madan B. Lokur, who led the earlier two-judge Bench, retired in December last. Justice U.U. Lalit was the companion judge on that Bench.Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, for the victims’ families and petitioners, made an urgent mention before Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, apprising him of the fact that the case had not come up in a while.Mr. Gonsalves submitted that he had first mentioned the matter before Justice Lalit, who told him to mention it before the CJI. The CJI alone had the administrative power to constitute Benches to hear cases.“We will try to reconstitute the Bench,” the CJI told Mr. Gonsalves.In 2017, the court ordered a CBI probe into the alleged 1,528 extra-judicial killings from 2000 to 2012. The last few hearings saw the Justice Lokur Bench facing pressure to recuse himself from the case.This was in the form of a plea by serving and retired Army officers that there was a perception of judicial bias caused by certain oral comments made by the judges in court. The plea claimed that certain oral remarks of the Bench in an earlier hearing, reported widely in the media, questioning the non-arrest of accused persons, spooked the Army personnel operating in the State. Incidentally, the plea was fully supported by the Centre. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had pitched in, saying that “more soldiers are killed than insurgents”.But the court’s amicus curiae in the case, advocate Menaka Guruswamy, and Mr. Gonsalves, had assured the Bench that the plea was merely an attempt to “overawe” the court.Finally, the Bench, in a detailed judgment in November 2018, refused to withdraw from the case. It concluded that the plea was unfounded. It said the oral observations were not intended to compromise the independence of the CBI probe.
Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side’s 2nd goal. (AP Photo) Xherdan Shaqiri scored all three goals to put Switzerland into the second round of the World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Honduras. The Swiss will next face Lionel Messi and Argentina on Tuesday in Sao Paulo. Shaqiri scored his first goal in the sixth minute, dribbling into a crowd of defenders and curling a shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar. In the 31st, he collected a pass from Josip Drmic after a defensive error and easily beat Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares. Shaqiri completed his hat trick in the 71st. Drmic did well to beat Honduras defender Victor Bernardez on the left and pass to a charging Shaqiri, who one-timed his shot past a diving Valladares. Lineups: Honduras: Noel Valladares; Brayan Beckeles, Victor Bernardez, Maynor Figueroa, Juan Carlos Garcia; Oscar Boniek Garcia, Jorge Claros, Wilson Palacios, Roger Espinoza; Carlo Costly, Jerry Bengtson. Switzerland: Diego Benaglio; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Johan Djourou, Fabian Schaer, Ricardo Rodriguez; Valon Behrami, Gokhan Inler, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Admir Mehmedi; Josip Drmic.