Thursday, 2 December, 2021

BoB fishing ban season ends, industry hopes for good catch

BoB fishing ban season ends, industry hopes for good catch
Due to heavy rainfall and rough weather only a handful of big Mid-water shrimp trawlers left for the Sea from the Chittagong Fish Harbor yesterday. Photo: Mohammad Arju/ SOS

Industrial fishing vessels are resuming their venture to the Bay of Bengal (BoB) again, as the monsoon ban season has came to an end yesterday. The ban on deep sea fishing was enforced on 20 may by Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock to prevent large scale catch of juvenile fish and shrimp during monsoon breeding season.


In the Chittagong fish harbor crews and fishermen are preparing to leave, and they are expecting a relatively good catch this year because the 65-days ban was the first of its kind in Bangladesh.


I’m visiting the harbored fishing vessels in Chittagong since the last week. Interestingly the fishermen was supporting the ban. On last Thursday, Mr. Yunus Ahmed,  Third Master of bottom trawling vessel F.B. Zilani told me that, he thinks the monsoon ban period should extend towards the end of July. Because his experience is, ‘In the bay, heavy freshwater flow from rivers continues throughout the early August, with the nutrients generates with this flow and turbidity help larvae for highest breeding rate’.


Yesterday, due to heavy rainfall and rough sea only a handful of big Mid-water shrimp trawlers left for the Sea from harbor yesterday. Comparatively Small wooden vessels like Mr. Ahmed’s F.B Zilani will wait to hear from big vessels about suitable weather condition.


One of the important aspect of this ban was; more that 68,000 mechanized boats was not barred from fishing- it was only for 241 Industrial fishing vessels. The mechanized boats usually do not go fishing due to stormy weather during heavy monsoon.


Speaking about affect on frozen food export, Mahbub Rana, Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association told me that, for shrimp exporters this was a new experience as only cultured shrimp was available in the period. But in general, as he said, ‘monsoon is usually off-peak for the frozen food export industry so it was not of big concern’.


While answering questions about breeding seasons in the Bay, Mohammad Mahabubul Alam from country’s Marine Fisheries Academy said, most of the commercially important fish breeds in the monsoon and another breeding season occurs in the Late October. ‘I hope the government will enforce a ban season in October also’, he said.


According record kept by Bangladesh Fish Development Corporation from fish landing center, In 2012-13 fiscal year the marine fisheries catch was 589,000 metric tonnes.

Mohammad Arju is a journalist and marine conservationist. He can be reached at [email protected]