Don’t ruin fish market for small gains, PM to exporters

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday asked those involved in fish production, processing and export not to take any unwise step just for their small gains that may ruin one’s own business and the country’s image.

‘I specially request the fish traders involved in production, processing and export not to do anything that may shatter one’s own business as well as the country’s export item,’ she said.

The prime minister made the request while addressing the inaugural session of the National Fisheries Week 2017 held at Krishibid Institution.

She said there is a trend among a section of people to mix adulterated items for making extra profits. ‘What’s the necessity of this? With this, they simply destroy their businesses and the country’s image as well. I request all concerned not to do this.’

Sheikh Hasina said ensuring quality and standard is a must for the export of any product and that is why the government has taken steps to ensure testing of fish products.

Laying emphasis on boosting fish product, its processing and setting up testing labs to expedite fish export, the prime minister said there should be testing labs in Sylhet, Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions as well. ‘I urge the ministry to take initiatives in this regard.’

Hasina said Bangladesh can use maritime resources extensively for the country’s faster economic growth. ‘We’ll have to use our maritime resources, there’s a vast sanctuary of fish apart from other resources. We’ve got a tremendous opportunity to use that.’

Wining the legal fights both against Myanmar and India by Bangladesh to establish the ownership on vast maritime areas in the Bay of Bengal is a storage of huge mineral and fisheries resources.

As the country is least experienced in exploration of maritime resources, including fisheries, the government has procured a maritime survey ship and is taking other necessary steps for extracting the resources, she said.

‘I think, we need more modern and upgraded survey and research vessels, and we’re taking steps for that and giving special attention to how we can utilise our resources,’ Hasina said.

The prime minister said Bangladesh needs bigger search vessels for going deeper into the sea in the future and the government has plan to procure such vessels.

The PM urged all concerned for the creation and preservation of sanctuary for the extinct species of fish in open water bodies for their preservation, breeding and reproduction.

Hasina said her government is pledge-bound to maintain the necessary research programmes for the development of fisheries.

She called upon the scientists to conduct research on the breeding of local species of fish like shing, koi, magur which have huge demand in the country.

The prime minster said the government has been providing foodgrains to fishermen as assistance since 2009 to protect mother hilsa and jatka (hilsa fry).

Referring to the ban imposed by the European Union on Shrimp import from Bangladesh during the BNP government, she said, her government returning to power in 1996 had allocated Tk 40 crore to ensure the quality and standard of shrimp processing. ‘Such efforts have made it possible to reintroduce Bangladesh’s shrimp market in different countries, including the European Union.’

The prime minister said around 1.82 crore people of Bangladesh are now involved in fish cultivation and business. ‘Around 24.41 percent of our agricultural production comes from this sector which contributes to about 3.61 per cent in the gross domestic product.’

Sixty percent of the country’s total demand of animal protein comes from the fishery sector, said Hasina adding that additional fish production might help meet the rest of the protein demand of people.

Earlier, the PM distributed awards among 13 individuals and organisations for their outstanding contributions to fish production in the country.

Of the recipients, four individuals and organisations got gold medals and Tk 50,000 while nine individuals and organisations got silver medals and Tk 30,000.

Later, the prime minister released fish fry at Ganobhaban Lake marking the National Fisheries Week 2017.

Fisheries and livestock minister Muhammad Sayedul Hoque presided over the programme. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Fisheries and Livestock Ministry Narayan Chandra Chanda, among others, spoke on the occasion.

Source: New Age