After 65-days long ban, trawlers from Chittagong Fish Harbor have started to set sail for deep sea fishing on Sunday. For rest of the year, Country’s 246 trawlers are free to fish in the Bangladesh’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Bay of Bengal.
The annual trawling ban season during monsoon from 20th May to 23rd July which was imposed by Department of Fisheries (DoF) for the consecutive second year, has brought new hope for good catch for at least next three to four months, said executives of fishing companies.
The scenario at Harbor today was unlike previous year. Last year, due to heavy rainfall and rough weather only a handful of big shrimp trawlers made their voyage on the first days of open season.
But today, the weather is slightly recovering from depression in the northern bay and heavy monsoon. With no storm warning, the harbor is hustling and bustling with fishing crews and vessels, some leaving for the maiden voyage of open season, others are preparing to leave.
Forecast issued by Met office assures, monsoon will remain mostly moderate over northern Bay in this week and rainfall may decrease.
‘49 vessels secured permission for leaving on Sunday,’ said DoF’s Director (Marine), N M Humayun. Another 11 vessels have taken permission to set sail on tomorrow, he said while speaking to Daily Sun in the evening.
Though questions about a non-dynamic ban season persist, but from the reaction of fishers, Mr. Humayun thinks, it seems that the industry is getting around the monsoon ban on fishing.
‘Sea Fishers Limited’ operates one of the big deep-sea fishing fleets in the Bay of Bengal. Resident Director of Sea Fishers at the port city of Chittagong Mr. AHM Nizamuddin said, fourteen of their total nineteen trawlers already left, and others will be leaving in the coming days.
Open Season starts: 49 mid and bottom trawlers left for the sea on Sunday, leaving this portion of Chittagong Fish Harbor free for small boats like this one. Photo: Pimple Barua for Daily Sun
‘Last year the catch in the months immediately after the monsoon was really good, the volume was high and we’ve good catch size of fishes too,’ said Mr. Nizam. ‘This trawling-ban protects a large number of breeding fin-fishes and crustaceans, and juveniles. So we hope at least next three to four months will see good catch,’ he added.
Mr. Mostak from Bengal Fisheries of A.K Khan and Company said though their current fleet of trawlers is relatively small but after the first ban last year they’ve got big catch too. ‘On Sunday, two of our three shrimp trawlers left for fishing,’ he said.
According to DoF, in total national fish production (3684245 tons) of 2014-15 fiscal year 16.28% was marine catch.
14.1% of total marine catch comes from the fleet of 246 trawlers, and the major part- 85.9 % are harvested by artisanal and small-scale commercial country boats and mechanized boats. DoF limits the number of artisanal boats within an estimated figure of 68,000, which are not subject to monsoon fishing ban.
Earlier in the June, Fisheries Minister Muhammed Sayedul Hoque said he wants to see the seasonal ban imposed on this mega-fleet of small boats to bring sustainability in marine fisheries sector. During the running National Fish Week he again stressed on promoting sustainability for attainting self-sufficiency in fish production.