'Fisher and farmer' rights bodies have demanded the government compensate each fisherman Tk 8,000 per month during the fishing ban in the country.
COAST Trust, an organisation comprising some 24 fisher and farmer groups, under the banner of Bangladesh Fish Workers' Alliance made the demand on Thursday.
It held a press conference at the National Press Club, highlighting the need for coastal fishers' extended coverage of the VGF support during fishing ban.
The rights groups demanded monthly allowance for each fisherman's family during the fishing ban as part of recognising their contribution to the national economy.
Md Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Trust presented a keynote paper there.
He said about half a million people are directly involved in the haul of hilsa and 2.0-2.5 million are directly or indirectly involved in the sector.
Hilsa contributes 12 per cent of the total fish catch here and adds to the sum total of Tk 8.12 billion annually, Mr Munir said.
On average, a fisherman catches hilsa worth Tk 0.16 million annually, he mentioned.
During the three-month ban on hilsa catch, Mr Munir said, a fisherman gets only 90 kilograms of rice amounting to Tk 4,500 as ration from the government.
The organisers referred to the recent rise in the minimum wage for garment workers at Tk 8,000 and demanded the same for each fisherman during the ban.
There is no alternative source of income for fishermen when the ban is in force, they argued.
To pay the additional allowance for fishermen, the government will need Tk 1.2 billion, said Mr Munir.
Surprisingly, 40 per cent of the government's ID cards for fishermen has been given to those not involved in fishing, alleged Sanat Kumar Bhowmik of COAST Trust.
He said fishermen are even not getting the announced ration during the ban period.
The speakers said only 2,500 out of 6,000 fishermen came under the government support in Cox's Bazar Sadar.
They demanded that a monitoring committee must be in place at upazila and union levels to oversee the government's financial support schemes.
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.
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