Bangladesh: Protesters block a highway against a ban on fishing

Thousands of fishermen blocked Bangladesh's busiest highway Sunday to protest a two-month ban on fishing in the Bay of Bengal, police said.

The authorities took this step in the name of preserving the environment and fish stocks. But, according to the fishermen, its record duration leads to bankruptcy.

The one-hour demonstration in the coastal town of Sitakunda (east) caused traffic jams of several kilometers on the main highway, which connects the capital, Dhaka, to the second city, Chittagong.

The protesters left the road after a government official and a deputy promised to help them.

Bangladesh regularly imposes seasonal fishing bans, but these have never exceeded more than three weeks.

Bangladeshi fishermen block highway in Chittagong, June 9, 2019 (AFP - STR)

Bangladeshi fishermen block highway in Chittagong, June 9, 2019 (AFP – STR)

Nearly 15 million people in coastal areas of Bangladesh live directly or indirectly from the fishing industry, one of the largest in the world. Fishing bans have increased catches by 150% in this country over the past 15 years.

This measure, in effect since May 20, and will remain until July 23, occurs during the hilsa fishing season, a kind of herring, emblematic fish of the local gastronomy.

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