Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | ePaper

Hilsa

Conservation, Protection And Distribution

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Md. Muzibur Rahman :
The contribution of the fisheries sector in our national economy is inevitable and mentionable. Fishing sector contributes 3.65 percent to the GDP and 23.78 percent to the country's total agricultural products. A considerable part of the country's export earning comes from this sector. Fish alone supplements about 60 percent of animal protein in our daily diet. The main target of fisheries sector is to increase supply of animal protein through boosting of fish production. The Government has been initiating & implementing different programs to achieve these targets. Bangladesh is about to self-reliant in the fish production and is trying to expand, protect and distribute fish resources to the continuous rising population. There are many species of fishes. Among them Hilsa fish is the most tasty and popular fish in our country. It is known to all that Hilsa is our national fish. A major portion of foreign exchange comes from Hilsa fish exports to the foreign countries meeting local demand. Every year in various occasions either in the marriage ceremony, festivals or Bengali New Year (Nobo-Borsho), huge Hilsa fishes are needed to the nation. Now it is the time to be more aware of more Hilsa production, conservation, protection and its safe distribution for the sake of the nation. Bangladesh is committed to feed its citizens all types of basic needs especially of food which is very important responsibility to the state machinery. Hilsa fish is a good fish which contains various mineral proteins which is very necessary to the human body.
Government is also committed to develop Hilsa fisheries resources. For this reason the Government is taking several timely & realistic steps to ensure the sustainable increasing trend of Hilsa production. Steps are may be mentioned here. 1. Implementation of Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programs to prevent fishermen from starvation during Jatka conservation period of November to June. 2. Distribution of alternative income generating resources to the extreme poor fishermen who are abstained from Jatka fishing. 3. Arranging awareness raising programs to prevent indiscriminate Jatka fishing as well as implementation of fish Conservation Act. 4. Arranging awareness building and Fish Act implementation program to stop Hilsa fishing, marketing, carrying for 22 (09-30 October) days during the peak spawning season to Hilsa brood. 5. Observing Jatka conservation week every year to create social movement for the protection of jatka fish etc. This year Government imposed a ban on catching, selling, hoarding and transportation of Hilsa in the Bay of Bengal and different rivers for 22 days to boost Hilsa production through protection of the mother fish during its peak breeding season. That is why, Hilsa production may be   increase trend for the year. Hilsa fishing resumes after 22days ban in Bangladesh territorial water in the sea.  Fishermen are taking preparations with their rafts and nets for catching fish in the Bay of Bengal and rivers adjacent to Sundarban as an embargo on catching the popular fish is going to end on 30 October, 2019.
They sought government step to stop illegal foreign fishermen's intrusion into the territory of Bangladesh water. We have common border with land and water with our neighbours and we shall have to joint efforts of tapping any resource on land and in water with patients and amicable manner so that there will be not any misunderstanding among the neighbours. There should be a strong coordination and monitoring system in this respect. Side by side, we shall have to find out ways to protect our marine fisheries including Hilsa fish so that any illegal intruders cannot haunt our invaluable water resources (Inland and Marine fisheries). We should conserve sufficient Hilsa fish for our own consumption. The price of the Hilsa fish is still high even in the peak season in the country especially to the poor & to the middle income groups. The distribution & marketing system of Hilsa fish is poor in the country. We think if the distribution & marketing system of Hilsa fish improves; it will be easy to reach Hilsa fishes to the poor and vulnerable groups with cheap price and it will help to reach to the remote areas in the country. There should be more cold stores in the country so that Hilsa fishes can be preserved in the peak season. For that reason, I propose to set up at least one cold store in every districts of the country. If needed, the cold stores can be set up in the Upazila level especially in the riverside & coastal areas. It will help to reserve & preserve fishes all time in the year & will be able to supply required quantities of Hilsa fishes with reasonable price where needed. Ministry of Fisheries can take initiative, efforts to make a healthy conservation, protection & distribution system of Hilsa fishes for smooth preservation, protection and distribution.
(Md. Muzibur Rahman, writes on development & economics issues; e-mail: muzibur64@gmail.com)

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