A total of 36,000 metric tonnes of rice will be provided
For the first time ever, fishers’ families will receive a monthly ration of rice during the 65-day fishing ban – imposed in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Bay of Bengal.
The government will provide 40kg of rice per month for 414,784 fishers’ families—of 42 upazilas under 12 districts—who will be left with no alternative means of income once the ban is imposed on May 20 , State Minister for Fisheries, Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, has said.
A total of 36,000 metric tonnes of rice will be provided in this manner – which the fishers can access by using VGF cards, the minister announced at a press conference held at the Fisheries Ministry, on Wednesday.
The rations will be given out before Eid-ul-Fitr, the state minister said.
"The process of allocating Tk225cr of the budget for FY19-20, during the three times of the year when fishing is banned, is underway," Khasru said.
He added that he hopes the monthly ration keeps the fishers from catching fish and shrimp, thus ensuring the duo’s safe breeding and conservation.
Previously, on May 20, 2015, the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry issued a gazette notification prohibiting fishing in the bay between May 20 and July 23, every year, to ensure smooth fish breeding.
Later, a writ petition was filed with the High Court challenging the legality of the ban. However, on May 15, 2017, the High Court upheld the government order.
There are: 475 species of fish, 36 species of shrimp, 15 species of crab, seven species of squid and cuttlefish, five species of turtle, 56 species of algae, and 301 species of snail and oyster in the Bay of Bengal. Of these, 85 to 90 of are commercially important.