The government, for the first time, has imposed a 65-day ban on fishing in the sea across the country, but apparently without taking any rehabilitation measures for the vulnerable fishermen.
The sanction, which is to remain effective from today to July 23, has been imposed in accordance with the Marine Fisheries Ordinance 1883 (amended in 2015) to ensure smooth breeding of the sea fishes.
According to the ordinance, no fishermen are allowed to catch fish in the sea during this period, said Mollah Emdadullah, district fisheries officer (DFO) in Patuakhali.
The Department of Fisheries sent a copy of the ordinance to the DFOs in 19 coastal districts in the first week of April and asked them to implement it, Emadullah added.
“We held a meeting with the fishermen, fish traders and others concerned on April 24 at Mohipur fish landing station in Kalapara upazila to make them aware of the ban,” he also said.
Some 5,000 fishermen in the district are at the risk of being out of work as fishing is their only source of income.
Abul Kalam, a fisherman of Alipur area in Kalapara, was worried over how he would provide to his six-member family during this period as he had no alternative earning source.
Ansar Uddin Mollah, president of fish traders’ association in Alipur fish landing station, said we already observed various protest programmes demonstrated by the fishermen.
We also submitted a memorandum to the prime minister urging her to reconsider the implementation of the ordinance, he added.
Asked if the government has any rehabilitation plan for the fishermen, DFO Emadullah said, “We have sent a proposal to the higher authorities to bring these people under Vulnerable Group Feeding programme during the ban.”