Bangladesh to be self-sufficient in fish next year: Sayedul

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Fisheries and Livestock Minister Muhammed Sayedul Hoque has said the country will be self-sufficient in fish through enhancing production up to 42 lakh metric tonnes (MT) within the next year.

“Bangladesh produced 38.78 lakh tonnes of fish in 2015-16 fiscal year ….we expect that the production would increase to 40.50 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 and if this trend continues the country will be self-sufficient in fish in 2018-19 fiscal,” said the minister while addressing a press briefing here marking the beginning of National Fisheries Week-2017.

Various programmes have been chalked out at the central and field level across the country to observe the week.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will formally inaugurate the National Fisheries Week at the auditorium of Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh tomorrow (July 19) and release fish fries into the Ganobhaban lake.

Apart from this, President Abdul Hamid will release fish fries into the Bangabhaban pond on July 24.

The fisheries minister said in 2008-09 the country produced only 27.01 lakh tonnes fishes and the production was significantly increased to 38.78 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 fiscal year due to various development programmes taken by the present government.

Citing a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, the minister said the country will need almost 42 lakh tonnes fish in a year to meet its annual demand with daily per capita requirement of 60 grams.

About increasing hilsha production, he said hilsha accounts for one-tenth of the total fish production, adding that the government has enacted a law and formulated strategies for conserving jatka and mother hilsha which helped increasing the production of the national fishes significantly.

Under the law, the government has banned hilsha catching, transportation, marketing, selling and hoarding across the country including the coastal region for 22 days during the main breeding season of the fish, Hoque mentioned.

In addition to this, he said the government has released 558.35 tonnes of fish fries throughout the country under development and revenue sectors in 2016-17 fiscal year, adding that a total of 1251 beel-hatcheries also have been set up for raising the production of open water fishes.

Even the government at the initiative of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina introduced registration and database of some 16.20 lakh fishermen and 14.20 lakh fishermen have already been provided with identity cards under a development project, the minister told the press conference.