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Friday, February 27, 2015, Falgun 15, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 7, 1436 Hijr

No master plan yet on deep sea fishing
Mohosinul Karim
Published : Friday, 27 February, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 22
The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has no master plan yet for sustainable fisheries collection from the sea even after winning the maritime boundary with India and Myanmar.
The ministry, however, has already decided to procure a survey vessel to assess the total fish resources in the Bay of Bengal.
The survey ship, which is being built in Malaysia would start its journey for Bangladesh by second week of March.
According to the Ministry officials, despite having directives of the Prime Minister, the Ministry failed to prepare any concrete plans for collecting the marine fishery resources in last eight months due to alleged conflicts among the high ups of the Ministry.
The ITLOS, a UN tribunal has awarded Bangladesh nearly four-fifths of an area sprawling over 19,467sq/km of the Bay of Bengal, ending a three-decade old dispute over a sea border with India and Myanmar.
The award brings to an end an arbitration process Bangladesh kicked off in 2009 under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, over disputes with Myanmar and India. The issue went to The Hague later in May, 2011.
The decision saves Bangladesh from being a sea locked country by Myanmar and India from both the sides. Both the countries have hailed the findings of the Arbitral Tribunal and indicated their willingness to comply with the outcome.
According to the officials, though the Ministry has initiated to prepare a draft of a master-plan to ensure proper collection and use of marine fishery resources, it achieves no progress due to indifferent attitude by the high officials of the Ministry.
Sources said the overall activities including  development works in the fisheries and livestock ministry slowed down because of indecisions from the ministry.
As a result, preparation of the draft of a master-plan lost its momentum.
When contacted, Fisheries and Livestock Minister Sayedul Haque denied making any comment in this connection.
"We are procuring a survey vessel, which has already been constructed in Malaysia, spending Tk 65 crore. The action plan on fishing in deep sea will be identified after gathering data through the survey vessel," State Minister for Fisheries, Narayan Chandra Chanda told The Daily Observer recently rejecting the allegation of the alleged conflicts.
He said that they already arranged training programme for the officials concerned. Some officials and employees have already taken training from various countries including Malaysia and Thailand on deep sea fishing.
"We are yet to contact the donor countries or agencies to mobilise fund for sustainable fisheries in the country's deep sea," Chanda said in reply to a query.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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