Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on everyone with access to water bodies to come forward and start fish farming.
“I just went to the lake and released some fish fry. I hope those having access to any waterbody will start fish farming,” Hasina said while inaugurating the National Fisheries Week via videoconferencing on Sunday.
The prime minister recalled the measures taken by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to develop the fisheries sector in Bangladesh. She also highlighted her government’s efforts to develop the sector.
Hasina stressed the importance of fish production as it is a key source of nutrition for the people. Increased production in the fisheries sector will reduce poverty and enable Bangladesh to export new products, she said.
“We have so many haors, canals and other water bodies in our country. Those having access to them can start farming fish, crab, snails or mussels.”
With the Padma Bridge opened to traffic and almost all rivers in southern Bangladesh having bridges over them, people in the region have better and easier connectivity, the prime minister said.
“We can take more initiatives to start fisheries production in those areas,” she said, adding the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock should take up more projects with a special focus on southern Bangladesh.
Hasina also highlighted the processing of fish, saying those products can be exported after meeting the local demand for nutrition. A variety of fish are available in Bangladesh and expatriate Bangladeshis would be happy to buy fish from their motherland when processed properly, she said.
“We’re known for our fondness for fish and we want to nurture that culture.”
Some people avoid eating fish as they find it hard to debone but the fish bones can be softened enough for human consumption. "It’s not difficult and people can do it at home.”
She shared a recipe to cook fish using a pressure cooker and soften the bones. “You can boil the fish for 1 hour and 10 minutes and the bones will be softened. You can even feed the fish to children following this recipe,” she said.
“But this recipe is for people to try at home. For the industrial sector, we can process the fish in a way that their bones will be softened while keeping the original shape intact, many countries will import those fish from Bangladesh. We can also produce and export different fish products.”
Hasina hoped the new generation will come forward in fish farming and will create more employment opportunities. “It will meet the local demand and the country will be able to export more products,” she said.
Hasina also recommended restrictions on the netting of baby prawns in the seawater in Cox’s Bazar and Kuakata and setting up more prawn hatcheries there.
Prawn hatcheries should follow proper health protocols, she said.
On behalf of the prime minister, Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque handed the ‘Jatiya Matshya Padak 2022’ to awardees during the event.