Fishermen demanded Tk 8,000 per month for each fisher family as compensation during the fishing ban period at a press conference on Thursday at National Press Club in the capital.
They also demanded proper recognition of fishing community for their contribution to the national economy at the press conference jointly organised by 24 fisher organisations under the banner of Bangladesh Fish Workers’ Alliance.
They also demanded extended coverage of the vulnerable group feeding support during fishing ban.
Sanat Kumar Bhowmik of COAST Trust moderated the event while Mujibul Haque Munir of the same organisation presented the keynote paper.
Rashida Begum of Coastal Fishers Association, Mizanur Rahman Bahadur of Cox’s Bazar Fishing Boat Fish workers’ Union, Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Farmer Federation and Mustafa Kamal Akanda of Coastal CSO Alliance also spoke at the conference among others.
Mujibul Haque Munir, in a keynote paper, said that about five lakh people are directly involved with Hilsha fishing while 20 to 25 lakh people are directly or indirectly involved with this sector.
Hilsha contributes 12 per cent of total annual fish catch of Bangladesh and annual production of fish worth about Tk 8125 crore in a year.
A fisherman catches fishes worth of Tk 1.60 lakh round the year. Hilsha catching remains banned for three months in a year. During that time a fisherman is entitled to 40 kilograms of rice per month as compensation.
Market price of 40 kilogram rice is about Tk 2000, the keynote paper pointed out.
Mujibul Haque Munir proposed Tk 8,000 per month for each fisher family as compensation during the fishing ban period.
Sanat Kumar Bhowmik said, the government has issued ID card to fishermen, but 40 per cent
of those were given to people who are not involved in fishing.
During Hilsha fishing ban period, many fishermen are getting 25 per cent to 30 per cent less rice than they are entitled to.
Mizanur Rahman Bahadur said, there are about 6,000 fisher people living in Cox’s Bazar sadar area, but only 2,500 are registered. None of them have received any ration or VGF support during the fishing ban yet.
The government imposed a 22-day ban on catching, selling, transportation and hoarding of Hilsa fish in a 7,000 km
breeding ground with effect from October 7, to ensure safe spawning of the fish during its peak breeding period.
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