Prices of different species of fishes witnessed a hike last week which traders attributed to a fishing ban in hilsa sanctuaries for the next two months.
A surge in poultry meat prices also aided the upward trend in the prices of fish, a source of protein, said the market experts.
Both indigenous and cultured fishes became dearer raising sufferings of the commoners, already battered by continuous price hike of other keys essentials.
Cultured ruhi, katla, tilapia, pangasea and koi became pricier by Tk 30-50 per kg in the later part the week.
Fishes of river and other natural water bodies, including pabda, shrimp, ruhi, katla, shoul, golsha, tengra, boal and other species increased by Tk 50-150 a kg based on size and quality.
Cultured tilapia was sold at Tk 180-220 depending on sizes while such variety of ruhi was sold at Tk 250-380 a kg on Thursday.
Indigenous varieties of ruhi (weighing above 2.0 kg) was sold at Tk 450-550 per kg and katla at Tk 420-Tk 500 a kg at Rayerbazar and Mohammadpur Agricultural Market (Krishi Market) on the day.
Shrimp of different quality and sizes was selling at Tk 450-950 per kg and shoul at Tk 450-600 a kg.
Indigenous pabda was sold at Tk 650-850 while cultured pabda at Tk 450-600 a kg on the last day of the week.
Jamal Hossain, a fish vendor at the city's Mohammadpur Krishi Market, said prices had increased notably at the wholesale level amid a shortage in supply.
He mentioned the authorities concerned last week imposed a two-month fishing ban effective from March 01 in five major sanctuaries under the government's hilsa conservation programme.
Mr Hossain also said catching, trading, carrying, or selling of hilsa would remained banned until April 30 under the programme.
Samsul Alam, a fish wholesaler in the city's Jatrabari area, said not only hilsa, the authorities also prohibited catching all species of fishes in the six southern districts which meet 20 per cent of the national demand.
He said fish would remain dearer until the end of the ban.
Value chain expert and economist Prof Golam Hafeez Kennedy said hilsa had a big share in the country's fish market, contributing over 11 per cent alone.
Absence of the hilsa, known as the delicacy of Bengalis, and also the supply shortage of other species due to the ban usually affect the market.
He said prices of fish increases in the country especially during the fishing ban periods.
Dr Kennedy also pointed out that prices of cultured fish have also been rising which might have a link to the recent hike in poultry meat prices.
He said poultry bird prices increased by 25-30 per cent in the last two and half weeks which caused a surge in demand for cultured fish among the commoners.
"Hike in prices of cultured fish and poultry meat having a direct impact on limited-income segment of the society who are struggling hard for their livelihoods during the pandemic," he added.
Bangladesh produces 4.5 million tonnes of fishes annually of which hilsa contributes 11 per cent, according to the Department of Fisheries (DoF) data 2020.
Fish is still the major source of animal protein in the country with a 55 per cent of the share.