State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru yesterday asked the country's coast guard and navy to impound foreign fishing vessels that illegally enter Bangladesh's maritime territory.
The state minster made the call at a views-exchange meeting held at Chattogram Circuit House, attended by ministry officials and fishing vessel owners.
Placing emphasis on the need to intensify surveillance for protecting the maritime territory of the country from intrusion of foreign vessels, Khasru said, “We often get the news of foreign vessels entering our maritime territory with the help of some of our local fishermen. We must seize those, regardless of the country the vessels belong to.”
The seized vessels should not be released until the matter is resolved through negotiations between governments concerned, he also said.
“Don't release those [impounded vessels] through personal negotiations. Inform the government or the relevant ministry about it. The government will decide whether the detained vessel would be released.”
Praising achievements in the fisheries sector, he said exporting fish to foreign markets is under consideration of the government.
Tanjim Faruq, commander of Bangladesh Navy, during the meeting said at least five ships patrol the maritime boundary of Bangladesh.
“As far as we know, there's no intrusion of foreign vessels into our boundary. Despite the fact, we will remain vigilant at our highest level to prevent any possible intrusion,” he added.
Among others, Asheq Ullah Rafiq, member of parliament from Cox's Bazar-2; and Raisul Alam Mondol, secretary to the fisheries and livestock ministry; were also present at the meeting.