1743 sqkm of Bay of Bengal near St Martin’s declared ‘Protected Area’
The government has declared 1743 sqkm of the Bay of Bengal adjacent to St Marin's Island as "marine protected area".
Earlier the government declared 590 hectares of St Martin's as "ecologically critical area".
The declaration will help prevent uncontrolled movement of ships and motorboats, overfishing, dumping of waste and harmful chemicals in the sea, destruction of coral colonies, and depletion of biodiversity in the area.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, under Sections 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Wildlife (Conservation and Protection) Act, 2012, declared the area as 'St Martin's Marine Protected Area'.
This protected area is by far the largest and second marine protected area in the country.
Under the Wildlife Conservation Protection Act, 2012 no person shall harvest, destroy or collect any natural resources or disturb or threat any wildlife, destroy their habitat, pollute watercourse. Even it will restrict people to enter the area without permission of the authorities.
However, people will be able to enter the area with a permission, maybe by providing entry fee for the purposes of study or investigation on relevant and helpful subject on wildlife, photography, research, and for ecotourism.
The declaration will help the authorities to enforce law to limit extraction of marine resources from this protected area which will ultimately increase fish resources and aquatic animal breeding.
The declaration will help in the conservation of the endangered pink dolphins, sharks, ray fish, sea turtles, seabirds, corals, marine grasses and marine biodiversity and their habitats.
In a press statement, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said, it will improve the livelihoods of local people through sustainable extraction of fisheries resources, enrich the national blue economy and achieve the international obligations and targets related to the special economic zone of Bangladesh.
Everyone is requested to play a responsible role in conserving this unique coral island located in the southernmost part of Bangladesh and its environment and biodiversity, the press statement added.