"Government's 40kg rice scheme per fisherman-family is very insignificant"
The fishermen and the fishing boat owners of Chittagong took to the streets on Tuesday demanding the withdrawal of the government-imposed 65-day national ban on coastal fishing in the Bay of Bengal.
Several hundred people under banners of Sonali Jantrik Matsyajibi Somobay Samity and Samudrik Matsya Ahoronkari Boat Malik Samity also put up barricades and demonstrated against the national fishing ban in the Shah Amanat Bridge area under the Bakalia police station in the city.
Later, they held a brief rally demanding the withdrawal of the 65-day ban imposed on May 20.
Speaking at the protest event, Aminul Islam Babul Sarker, general secretary of Sonali Jantrik Matsyajibi Somobay Samity said that the fishermen were hit hard by the coastal area catch ban.
Issuing an ultimatum, he said that the ban has to be withdrawn within 72 hours; otherwise, they would be compelled to launch a tougher movement.
Referring to the government's announcement of providing 40kg of rice monthly to the affected families of fishermen during the ban, he said that the fishermen families may not get the rice as they could not live on such an insignificant amount.
Today's protest-demonstration caused inconvenience to commuters as vehicular movement was halted for some time.
Earlier on June 9, several hundred people from the Matshyajibi Jele Somproday organization came out to the streets and blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong highway demanding the withdrawal of the fishing ban in the Bay of Bengal.
On May 20, 2015, the fisheries and livestock ministry issued a gazette notification enforcing a 65-day fishing ban in the coastal region between May 20 and July 23 every year to ensure uninterrupted breeding of fish.
Later, a writ petition was filed with the High Court challenging the legality of the ban. On May 15, 2017, the High Court, however, upheld a government order restricting fishing for a period of 65 days in the Bay of Bengal.
There are 475 species of fish, 36 of shrimp, 15 of crab, seven of squid and cuttle fish, five of turtle, 56 species algae, 301 species snail and oyster in the Bay.
Out of 475 species of fish, 85 to 90 of them are commercially important.