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Bangladesh shrimp hatcheries decry government inaction

BANGLADESH - The government's lax policing of laws that prevent indiscriminate fishing is leading to the collapse of more than 10 shrimp hatcheries in Balanglesh's Cox Bazar due to a lack of shrimp fry, owners said.

Bangladesh shrimp hatcheries decry government inaction - BANGLADESH - The government's lax policing of laws that prevent indiscriminate fishing is leading to the collapse of more than 10 shrimp hatcheries in Balanglesh's Cox Bazar due to a lack of shrimp fry, owners said. Take me to eFeedLink

Due to lax policing, the numbers of mother shrimp in the Bay of Bengal has been declining sharply in recent years. The numbers of mother shrimps have dropped by 90 percent in just two years, according to hatchery owners. Meanwhile, prices of these shrimps have risen six-fold due to the much diminished numbers.

They also claimed that about 50 trawlers regularly entered the territorial waters of Bangladesh from India, Myanmar and Thailand illegally, catching mother shrimps from the Bay of Bengal. Trawlers also openly flout restrictions that ban fishing from January to March, when mother shrimps are in their egg laying season.

However, the government has not taken any action against the offenders, the hatchery owners said, even though the government earns at least Tk 200 crore (US$29 million) from this sector every year.

Khorshed Alam, a shrimp hatchery owner, said most hatcheries are producing fries from tender aged mother shrimp whose fries are weak and are prone to virus attacks.

The problem has been present for the last three years, with no resolution, in sight. Cox's Bazar Shrimp Hatchery Owners Association officials said 10 out of 58 hatcheries have closed down after spending vast amounts of money fighting shrimp diseases. Many others are considering winding down the business due to accumulating losses.

Bangladesh Shrimp Hatchery Association president Lutfur Rahman Kazal said sea fish is likely to extinct within two or three years if indiscriminate catching is not checked, he said, emphasising that unrestrained fishing is a real threat to the hatchery industry.

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