• In ancient Bangal there were closed seasons when catching Hilsa was forbidden. Hilsa is the main fish
species found in the coastal and estuarine waters which migrates up river to spawn. From Bijoya Dashami
(September/October) to Sri Panchami (January/February) a ban of its capture used to be in force. This
prevented the capture of immature hilsa during the winter season. Unfortunately, this practice has been
discontinued, and large scale hi/sa fishing is carried out throughout the year.
• In some beels and haors fishermen refrained from fishing on Saturdays. They believed that on Saturdays fish
commune with their gods, and should not be disturbed.
Such traditional practices are still found in some areas, but are dying out. Changes in economic, social and cultural
circumstances are contributing to their disappearance.
Women's knowledge and views
• A total of 134 women were interviewed, most of whom buy or cook SIS. They were highly concerned about
the decline of SIS, as they had few, if any, alternative sources of animal protein.
• Some women complained that SIS is difficult to clean, but most agreed that it was tastier than large fish.
• Most women agreed that local action was required to conserve and manage stocks of SIS.
• In the 9 PRA focused group discussions, 312 individual interviews based on information checklist, and other
interactions revealed that conservation measures needed to benefit aquatic ecosystems and renewed SIS
stock. Unfortunately, people's knowledge about local aquatic ecosystem and its potential to regenerate natural
resources, both for subsistence as well as livelihood, remain unattended. There were several occasions when
communities and individuals raised conservation issues and concerns as well as participated in search for
• The participatory problem identification also allowed people to compare historical situation, approaches and
conventions practiced in the past.