Food and feeding ecology of hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) in Bangladesh’s Meghna River basin
Hilsa shad (Tenualosa ilisha) is one of the most important tropical fish of the Indo-Pacific region, especially in Bangladeshi waters. The hilsa fishery has declined significantly since 2002 mainly due to overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution; the Government of Bangladesh and researchers are therefore working to ensure its sustainable management. This study on hilsa food and feeding ecology offers essential information for policymaking and the effective management of the hilsa fishery. It is based on a year-long study of hilsa specimens collected from the Meghna River at Chandpur across a range of age groups, from fry to adult. An analysis of the specimens’ gut contents, and of the water itself, identified a range of phytoplankton and zooplankton genera; it also established the hilsa’s food preferences at various stages in the life cycle using Ivlev’s ‘electivity index’.