Md Shahab Uddin, minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, yesterday said to protect the river ecosystem, the government is serious about conserving dolphins. He said the ministry is formulating a national action plan in this regard.
The minister came up with commitment at a webinar organised to observe "International Freshwater Dolphin Day".
The day was observed for the first time in the country yesterday.
Referring to the government initiative, he said it has declared nine dolphin sanctuaries in the country. A dolphin action plan has been finalised and community-based awareness campaign has been launched.
"Around thousand people who were dependent on those sanctuaries for livelihood were given financial assistance. Seven dolphin conservation teams were formed to oversee the sanctuaries in the Sundarbans. The government is also considering to declare the mammal as national freshwater animal."
He said said the growth rate of dolphins in the Sundarbans is 55 percent -- a milestone in conserving the cetacean.
The webinar was chaired by chief conservator of forest Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, where Begum Habibun Nahar, deputy minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Ziaul Hasan, its secretary, also participated.
Meanwhile marking the day, Committee to Protect Biodiversity of Halda River also organised an event on the bank of Halda.
The speakers at the event urged the government to ensure alternative means of livelihood for those who are dependent on fishing in Halda.
The event was organised by the divisional forest office (wildlife management and nature conservation) of Chattogram where Md Elias Hossen, deputy commissioner of Chattogram district, was present as chief guest.
Eminent Halda researcher Prof Manzoorul Kibria presented the keynote paper at the programme, chaired by Abu Naser Mohammad Yeasin Neyaz, divisional forest officer.