Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB)- Bangladesh Fish Workers’ Alliance (BFWA), a platform of fishermen and farmers’ organizations, on Thursday demanded a monthly allowance of Tk 8,000 for each fisherman’s family as compensation during the period when fishing Hilsa is banned.
It also urged the government for proper recognition of fishing community considering their contribution to the national economy.
The BFWA raised the demands at a press conference held at Jatiya Press Club in the city. Sanat Kumar Bhowmik of COAST Trust moderated the event while Md. Mujibul Haque Munir of the same organization presented the keynote paper.
Among others, Rashida Begum of Coastal Fishers Association, Mizanur Rahman Bahadur of Cox’s Bazar Fishing Boat Fish Workers’ Union, Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Farmers Federation and Mustafa Kamal Akanda of Coastal CSO Alliance also spoke at the press conference.
In his keynote paper, Md. Mujibul Haque Munir said, about half million people are directly involved with Hilsa fishing among 2-2.5 million people, who are directly or indirectly involved with this sector.
Hilsa contributes 12% of total annual fish catch of Bangladesh and annual production is worth Tk. 8.12 billion. In an average one fisherman catches Hilsa worth Tk. 0.16 million, he said.
Mujibul Haque Munir said one fisherman gets rice worth Tk. 4,500 as ration during Hilsa fishing ban period. “As minimum wage in the country is recently set at Tk 8,000, we demand at least Tk 8,000 as allowance for each fisher family during the ban period because the fishermen community has no other income option during that time.”
He said to provide fisher families with this support the government would require only about Tk. 1.2 billion.
Sanat Kumar Bhowmik said, the government has given ID cards to fishermen, but he alleged that 40 percent of those cards are given to people who are not involved in fishing. During Hilsa fishing ban period, each fisher family is supposed to get 40 kilograms of rice, but many of them are getting 25-30% less than that, he further alleged.