Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim has said that we have to stop both local and foreign fishermen from catching of all types of fish and crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, cuttlefish, etc) in Bangladeshi territorial waters at any cost during the prohibited period from May 20 to July 23.
"We have to do it for the sake of the country's economy and the nutrition of the people," said the minister on Sunday at a virtual meeting.
It is essential to boost fishing and fish farming to eradicate malnutrition. The prime minister has given clear directives to develop our self-sufficiency in fisheries and also to earn foreign exchange by exporting fish, he added.
Besides the bumper yield in rice, if we cannot enrich ourselves in fish, meat, milk and eggs, we will not be able to face the crisis even when the situation becomes normal after the Covid-19 pandemic ends. The prime minister has declared stimulus packages to ensure production is not hampered, he said further.
He said the government is providing 40 kilograms of rice a month to fishermen who refrain from fishing during the embargo period, though it is tough to distribute anything during the lockdown over the Covid-19 outbreak.
Addressing the people who attended the meeting, the minister said, "We want to implement the embargo on fishing strictly regardless of any external pressure."
Anyone found to be negligent in performing their duty will not be spared, he added.
Fisheries and livestock secretary Rawnak Mahmud, additional secretary Shyamol Chandra Karmakar, and joint secretary Md Taufiqul Arif were present at the meeting.
Among others, representatives from the Bangladesh Coast Guard, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Police; deputy inspector general of Naval Police; director general of the department of fisheries Kazi Shams Afroz; divisional commissioners of Barishal, Chattogram, and Khulna; director of the department of marine fisheries in Chattogram; deputy commissioners and district fisheries officers of Barishal, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Chattogram, Cox's Bazar; representatives from Marine White Fish Trawler Owners' Association, Marine Fish Trawler Owners' Association, Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Association, Jatiya Matsyajibi Samiti were connected to the meeting online.