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ASIA Discuss Bangladesh Shrimp Policy with Minister

BANGLADESH - A team from the campaign group, Asia Solidarity Against Industrial Aquaculture (ASAI), visited the Bangladesh's honorable agriculture minister, Begum Motia Chowdhury, in order to express their concern about the proposed Shrimp Policy which they believe will have negative impacts on the local communities.

In the brief conversation with Ms. Motia Chowdhury she advised the team to meet and talk to the Minister of fisheries and livestock.

She said the matter of shrimp policy is mainly the concern of the ministry of fisheries and livestock and expressed that the concerned minister would listen to the issues related to the shrimp policy – 2008 expressed by the local people who are affected by shrimp cultivation and by the organizations and platforms working actively to stop the irresponsible commercial shrimp farming in Bangladesh. “If they take necessary steps, my ministry might not have to do anything about it,” she said.

According to ASIA, the minister further said that it might be sensitive to intrude on issues that lie within the framework of another ministry and two individual ministers may have “conflicting” opinions even if they are colleagues. Implying her limitations to take essential measures despite being the highest executive of the state in agriculture sector . However, she did extend her assurance to raise it in the upcoming inter-ministerial meeting on the Policy.

She also expressed the cautious position of the government about taking any step that would disrupt a private sector enterprise like the commercial shrimp farming, says ASIA.

However, Begum Motia Chowdhury admitted in this meeting and also indicated in her comments given elsewhere that the illegal gates built by the influential shrimp farmers in the polders particularly in Satkhira and Khulna had contributed to the severity of the damages caused by the cyclone ‘Alia’ that hit the coastal belt May 25, 2009. These illegal gates weakened the embankments that were damaged by the high tide during the cyclone Alia.

She said that the government will take necessary steps to ensure that the shrimp farmers will take the salt water inside the pond by hose pipe and not by cutting the embankment. “They cut the embankment mainly because they get the shrimp fry from the natural sources and this whole practice is free of cost” She said.

the Fish Site Editor

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