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65-day fishing ban in EEZ to renew marine fish stocks

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FT ONLINE

Minister for Fisheries and Livestock M Sayedul Hoque has said that the ban on fishing in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Bay of Bengal was imposed in order allow sea fish the opportunity to replenish their population.

“We should keep in mind that the ban period of 65 days is the breeding season of sea fish. The ban on catching fish during the period is enforced to ensure safe breeding and conservation of fish and shrimp. Regrettably, a quarter with vested interests filed a writ petition challenging the ban. However, the apex court rejected the petition,” said the minister.

The minister made the statement while making his address as the chief guest at a views-exchange meeting held at Chittagong Circuit House.

The Department of Fisheries and Marine Fisheries Department jointly organised the meeting titled “Conservation, Management and Development of Marine Fisheries.”

Fishing by commercial trawlers in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone is prohibited from May 20 to July 23.

The EEZ is a designated zone 200 nautical miles from the coast over which a coastal state has sovereign rights for use and exploration of marine resources, including oil and gas.

“As many as 67,000 wooden fishing trawlers ply the waterways across the country. However, only 2,000 of them have registration. Measures are underway to register all the unregistered fishing trawlers in the country,” added the minister.

Urging all to come forward for conservation of resources in the sea, the minister hoped that fish production would witness an extensive rise if the ban on catching fish during the restriction period could be enforced properly.

Meanwhile, stressing the need for fishing trawlers to follow regulations, Bangladesh Navy Fleet Commander M Ashraful Haque said: “The Bangladesh Navy rescued a total of 84 fishermen from the Bay of Bengal during the recent cyclonic storm Mora. However, only two fishermen were found wearing life jackets.”

The Navy high-up hence urged fishing trawler owners to equip them with all necessary life-saving equipment, including compasses and communication devices in addition to life jackets, while also asking to stop unlawful fishing.

“The fish stock is witnessing a sharp decline due to unlawful catching of fish. Scores of fries belonging to other fish species get caught and killed in the hunt to catching a single shrimp fry using a push net, one of the most environmentally detrimental fishing gears,” added the high official of Bangladesh Navy.

While presiding over the meeting, Maksudul Hasan Khan, secretary of the Fisheries and Livestock ministry, said that conservation of brood fish is of paramount importance as a single Hilsa brood fish can spawn as many as 2.5 million eggs.

-SAM

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