Seasonal fishing ban may help recover stocks of our national fish, the hilsa, but the ban comes as a distress to our fishers. This year the ban on fishing will reportedly come into effect for 15 days from October 7-22. All activities including fishing, transporting, stocking, marketing and selling of hilsa will remain prohibited during this time of the year across the country. Despite the good intention of the ban, it has a devastating effect on many fishermen as fishing is their only livelihood. For many of them a day of not being able to fish often means going hungry. Though the authorities concerned have a rehabilitation programme, which distributes rice among fishermen, many of them do not receive this assistance or receive it adequately.
A new research from Manusher Jonno Foundation has found that not only is this support inadequate, but due to corruption and nepotism, it is reaching the wrong hands. Some fishermen in a recent press conference reported that those who have never been fishers are also on the support list due to their connections with local political leaders. We hope this year the authorities concerned will update their list with genuine fishers and provide them with both food and cash incentives. We must not forget that this community plays a crucial role in feeding us.
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