A recent study by NGO COAST Trust revealed this information on Tuesday
About 70% of the fishermen in the coastal belt have lost their jobs because of the ongoing 65-days ban on fishing in the Bay of Bengal, said a new study.
Catching all types of saltwater fish has been prohibited from May 20 to July 23, reports UNB.
Besides, half of the fishermen can’t afford three square meals due to the lack of income and failing to include their names in the list of government aid receivers.
A recent study by non-governmental organization COAST Trust revealed this information on Tuesday, according to a press release.
COA has prepared the report based on information from 264 fisher families in the coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar, Lakshmipur, Bhola, Patuakhali, Khulna, and Bagerhat.
According to it, during the ban period, 60.8% of the families have no income at all.
As a result, now only 51% of these families can eat three meals a day during the ban which before was 95.8%, the press release says.
The government is providing 43kg of rice per family to help these fishermen suffering from the ban.
But even though 65.8% of the fishing families got food assistance, the other 34.2% are yet to receive this government assistance.
Half of those who got this rice received it about a month after the ban began.
Some 40% of the fishers complained that despite fulfilling all the conditions, their names did not appear in the government list for support, so they got nothing.
Some 67.5% of those who received rice from the government said that it was not enough to support their families as there was no cash assistance to meet other household expenses and 96.1% of the fishermen did not receive any assistance under any other social safety net programs.
Thus, 79.9% of the fishermen have borrowed on interest to meet the expenses of their families, 42.1% have sold their labour in advance, and 45.7% have borrowed from the moneylenders at high interest.
The study also found that violence against women in fishers’ families increased during the ban. About 51.8% of households have experienced domestic violence.
The study found that 95.4% of the fishermen have no alternative source of income except fishing at the sea.
The study recommended ensuring an alternative income for fishermen during the ban period.
Recognizing the effectiveness of the ban on fishing to increase the country’s resources, the study makes several specific recommendations to address the various crisis faced by fishing families of the country.
Some notable recommendations are, cash assistance instead of rice, easy access to loans or financial assistance, a compilation of an accurate list of fishermen, awareness and incentive activities to prevent child marriage and increase the rate of education, setting a “fishing ban period” in coordination with India and Myanmar.
Iqbal Uddin, a researcher at the COAST Trust, said the study was conducted to analyze the impact of the ban on the fishermen’s socio-economic life, to study the risk and gender fairness of women fishermen and to make recommendations to meet the needs of these people.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Trust, said the fisheries sector contributes 3.57% to the annual GDP, adding, “Hilsa alone as a single fish meets 12% of the country’s fish demand.”
“Fish production has increased by 58.35% in the last 10 years. Fishermen are always deprived even though they meet the fish demand of the people of the country.
Most of them lead inhumane lives during the fishing ban. Rice assistance alone is not enough during the ban because cash assistance is needed for other household expenses,” he added.