DHAKA, July 19 (BSS)-Pointing to huge potentials of country’s fishery resources, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged everybody related to fish culture, processing and export to shun fraudulent practices in this sector with an ill motive of profit maximization.
“Some people have the mentality of adulterating fishes. What benefit will come from such practices, except damaging the business and prospect of the resources,” she said urging everybody to abandon the path.
“Fish producers also should be careful to produce pure and quality species to meet the local demand as the local market is expanding in the backdrop of increasing the purchasing capacity of the people, she said while inaugurating National Fisheries Week-2017.
Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Muhammed Sayedul Hoque presided over the function organized by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock at Krishibid Institution auditorium in the city.
State Minister Narayan Chandra Chanda was present as special guest while secretary of the fisheries and livestock ministry Mahmudul Hasnan Khan spoke, among others, on the occasion.
The week is being observed from July 18 to 24 this year with the theme “Machh chashe gorbo desh, bodle debo Bangladesh” aimed at involving more people in fish production.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman first initiated the programme of observing the fisheries week through releasing fish fry into Gonobhabasn Lake in 1973.
Sheikh Hasina said once upon a time the people of Bangladesh worked whole day for eking food. Now protein and nutrition are essential components of their diet as their living conditions have been improved, which mostly come from fishes, she said.
Appreciating the theme of the Fisheries Week- 2017, the prime minister said fisheries was one of the sectors where her government attached importance after taking office considering its huge potentials and dependence of around 1.82 crore people on the fish culture and fishing.
The prime minister distributed awards among 13 fish farmers and organizations for their contribution to the development of the fisheries sector.
Director General of the Fisheries Department Syed Arif Azad conducted the award distribution ceremony.
Out them, four persons were given gold medal and nine persons and organizations received silver award.
Sheikh Hasina asked the fisheries ministry to set up fish testing laboratories in northern region and Sylhet division in addition to taking initiatives for fish processing on a larger scale.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government after taking office in 1996 allocated Taka 40 crore for modernization of fish hatcheries and landing stations in the country, which contributed resuming export to the European countries.
Highlighting the steps taken by her government for development of the fisheries sector, the prime minister said those steps resulted in increasing the fish production to 3.87 lakh metric tonnes and making Bangladesh the fourth largest sweet water fish producing country.
Referring to steps taken against catching of gravid fishes and fries of Hilsha and other species in the sea and rivers, the prime minister said her government has so far distributed about two lakh metric tonnes of food grains among poor fishermen to implement the programme.
In view of this, she said, the government, for the first time in the country, has taken initiatives for registration of the fishermen and giving them with identity card to facilitate them getting various assistance and incentives provided by the government.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has already procured a modern ship for conducting survey and research on fishery resources in the huge maritime areas in the Bay of Bengal acquired after a legal fight with Myanmar and India. The government has a plan to procure another fishing vessel capable of going to the deep sea, she said.
The prime minister said her government is making relentless efforts to materialize the electoral commitment of her party to ensure availability of nutritious and balanced food for every citizen.
Due to the government’s steps, she said, the country has already achieved self-sufficiency in food production and earned remarkable progress in fish production as the main source of protein.
Sheikh Hasina said her government for the first time in the country has framed the National Fish Policy in 1998. At that time, she said, her government had undertaken 26 projects at a cost of Taka 107 crore for conservation of environment and biodiversity, social management in fish culture in water bodies and development of fish sanctuaries.
The prime minister urged the ministry to give importance to haor areas for fish cultivation and dredging of the internal canals to improve movement of fishes. The country would be enormously benefitted if we can increase production in haor areas, she said.
Sheikh Hasina extended her thanks to the officials of the fisheries department for their relentless work to increase fish production in the country. She said her government has created new 926 posts in the sector and upgraded the post of the director general of the department to Grade-1.
In 2000, she said the Awami League government created the scope for promotion of the officers at the entry level, ending their long standing frustration. She hoped that employees of the department would work with more sincerity and devotion for development of the fisheries sector.
Later, the prime minister released fries of different fish varieties into Gonobhaban Lake.