Abdul Bashar, a resident of the Noakhali district, hoped to go fishing in the Bay of Bengal without wasting a minute after the 65-day fishing restriction that started on 20 May ended on 23 July.
Unfortunately, he has not been able to do that as of 31 August.
Along with 16 other fishermen, Bashar has been waiting at the Fishery Ghat in Chattogram since 24 July, hoping for the hostile weather to pass and the sea to calm.
More than two lakh fishermen are on the same boat as Bashar, as they wait in different areas of Chattogram – Firinghee Bazar, Katroli, Patenga, Karnaphuli, Anwara, Banshkhali, Mirsarai, Sitakunda – with at least 10,000 fishing trawlers. Alongside regular fishing trawlers, Hilsa trawlers are also waiting for the rough weather to subside.
"The 65-day restriction had severely damaged us financially and now the hostile weather is exacerbating the problem. I do not know when we can go fishing again," said Bashar.
According to the Sonali Mechanical Fisheries Cooperative Society, there are about 67,000 small and medium-sized vessels that fish in the sea. About 10,000 of the vessels are from different parts of Chattogram that employ at least two lakh fishermen.
Aminul Haque Babul Sarkar, general secretary of Sonali Mechanical Fisheries Cooperative Society, said after the 65-day fishing ban ended, fishers went to the deep sea with at least 1000 trawlers on 23 July. But due to the hostile weather and cautionary signal 3, the fishermen returned to shore after two days.
"Even though some trawlers caught 15 – 20 tons of fish, many could not catch any at all," he added.
Meanwhile, on 27 July, the Coast Guard rescued 11 fishermen alive when a trawler sank in the Sandwip area. Later that day, a bunker barge sank near Patenga beach. The four sailors, however, were rescued alive by a nearby ship.
Director of the Department of Marine Fisheries in Chattogram Dr Md Sharif Uddin said along with mechanical trawlers, 225 big commercial trawlers have also not been able to go to the deep sea due to the hostile weather.
"If the weather is favourable, we hope that both mechanical and commercial trawlers would be able to set sail for the sea from 1 August," he added.
Meghnath Tanchanga, an assistant aeronautical officer of the Patenga Meteorological Office, said the cautionary signal 3, imposed due to heavy rain and rough sea, was withdrawn after 2 pm on Friday.
"We have instructed the fishers to move cautiously along the coast until Saturday morning," he added.