Fishers, Coast Guard and Administration should come together for Hilsa conservation


Date: February 15, 2017
COAST, in technical assistance by Department of Fisheries (DoF) and WorldFish has organized a day long workshop on “Adaptive Co-management for Hilsa Conservation” under Enhanced Coastal Fisheries in Bangladesh (ECOFISH-Bangladesh) on February 15, 2017 at the conference room of Deputy Commissioner Office, Bhola. Md. Selim Uddin, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Bhola, was present as a Chief Guest. Md. Bazlur Rashid (Deputy Director, DoF, Barisal), Professor Dr. M.A. Wahab (Project Leader, ECOFISHBD), Lieutenant Commander, Sajjad Hossain, Coast Guard and Dr. M.G. Mustafa (IR Scientist, WorldFish) were present in the program as special guests. Research Associate M Eftakharul Islam was the key noted presenter of the workshop. The program was chaired by Md. Rezaul Karim, District Fisheries Officer, Bhola. Different union chairmen, fishermen leaders, hilsa ghat leaders, boat fishers and representatives from Bhola Sadar Upazila were present in the program and they gave their constructive opinions. Beneficiaries of ECOFISHBD project expressed their gratitude and valuable suggestions, which might be helpful for the practical implementation of the workshop outputs. The program was moderated by Sanat Kumar Bhowmik, Director, COAST Trust.
Md. Rezaul Karim, DFO, Bhola expressed that the livelihoods of near about 1.5 million people livelihood depend on hilsa in Bangladesh. According to him, ECOFISH-Bangladesh has a co-management project which involves relevant stakeholders. He praising COAST said that they-have been successfully implementing ECOFISHBD activities. However, he argued that hilsa management would not be successful only with law enforcement. The direct resource user community especially hilsa fisher must be involved for its management. Lieutenant Commander, Sajjad Hossain, Coast Guard, mentioned the importance of hilsa in fisheries sector. He also expressed that we are working together for hilsa conservation.
Fisher group leader, Mr. Nurul Islam urged that thesre should be some fund from Climate Change Trust Fund as the fishers are also the victim of climate change.
Chief Guest, Md. Selim Uddin, Deputy Commissioner, Bhola emphasized on public awareness, value of our aquatic resources specially hilsa. He also suggested keeping riverine resources as our own and we have to protect it together. Moreover, he indicated that government has to provide cash by bank account instead of rice. The amount of cash must be paid through personal account of fishers. According to Professor Dr. M.A. Wahab (Project Leader, ECOFISHBD), we have created a hilsa conservation fund of BDT 3.5 crore and we also expect your contribution here. Mr. Md. Bazlur Rashid (Deputy Director, DoF, Barisal) mentioned the progress of ongoing registration program for real fishers. According to his speech, present government ensured a project of one BDT 1000.00 crore and another project of BDT 2000.00 crore by the World Bank only for the development of coastal and marine fisheries. He also talked about a research vessel, recently arrived in Bangladesh from Malaysia, and is used for the exploration of marine resources of the Bay of Bengal. After having a successful program, all participants agreed that it is not possible to sustain our vast resources only by the government alone. We need cooperation; we need to follow co-management approach. Finally the present participants urged the following demands to the Deputy Commissioner. i) registration of real fishers, ii) no lease the water body to the political persons, iii) strong protection of political persons who catch fish during the ban period.