Sources say that the 10,683 registered fishermen in Teknaf have suffered because of the fishing ban.
Real fishermen cannot afford to “run the system” and fish in the river during the ban, said Imam Hossain, a fisherman in Teknaf. “Our livelihood depended on fishing on the Naf River, but we are not allowed to do that.”
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Many fishermen took out loans to buy boats and fishing nets by spending Tk 8-10 lakh. Since the ban was imposed, fishermen have only received 30 kilograms of rice as government aid, but this is far from enough, he said.
Abdus Salam, chairman of Teknaf Upazila Unit Bangladesh Khudro Matsyajibi Samity, said at least 8,000 of the registered fishermen have left their profession and become laborers and rickshaw pullers.
“The ban should be lifted soon,” he added.
Asked about lifting the ban, Fisheries Officer Delwar Hossen said: “We are ready to lift the ban, but law enforcement, especially the BGB, need to give the green signal for that. The BGB still wants the ban imposed to curb yaba smuggling.
However, Lt. Col. Sheikh Khalid Mohammad Iftekhar, commander of BGB-2, said that was up to the government’s decision. “We are not responsible for maintaining the ban,” he added.