The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the Fisheries Quarantine Act, 2018 to control the import of fish to prevent the intrusion of any harmful bacteria into the country.
The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at the Prime Minister's Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
“Currently, there’s no law to check the intrusion of any disease or harmful bacteria through monitoring fish import. The approved draft law is a new one,” Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said while briefing reporters after the meeting at the Secretariat.
As per the proposed law, the Fisheries Department will act as the Fish Quarantine Authority to monitor the import of any fish or aquaculture species by water, road, air and other routes, he said.
If any individual or company imports fish or fish products without permission, they will face minimum one-year and maximum seven-year jail or fine of maximum Tk 5 lakh or both, the Cabinet Secretary added.
He said the offence under the law would be considered as non-cognisable and bail-able.
Metropolitan magistrate, judicial magistrate and executive magistrate will have the authority to deal with the offence. However, no court will accept any case without written complaint of the quarantine officer.
Shafiul Alam said police, Rab, Coast Guard, BGB, port authority and civil aviation authority, Bangladesh Railway, shipping agencies and other organisations concerned will have the authority to prevent any activity detrimental to the law and help the fisheries officials to execute the law.