POST TIME: 11 September, 2019 11:07:59 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 September, 2019 01:00:41 AM
Alternative livelihoods for fishermen

Alternative livelihoods 
for fishermen

Fishermen did not go to sea for a total of 55 days this year as they were asked to remain safe during extreme natural calamities. Fishermen did not go to the sea for 75 days last year. Consequently, their livelihood suffered since fishing is their sole way of earning.

Regular occurrences of extreme weather force their families to face hardship and the suffering is more for fishermen who live in char areas or isolated islands. According to official data, Bangladesh Meteorological Department issued a total of 12 warnings or signals in the country’s coastal region in 2018. And, in every warning, fishermen were asked to remain in safe shelters and not to go to the sea for fishing for minimum two days to maximum 15 days. Between 1877 and 2017, the country faced 154 cyclones and with the caprices of weather in recent times, natural calamities have increased in frequency.

During such times, fishermen cannot go out to sea and their woes are compounded by the fact that for 22 days every year, between 7 October and 28, there is a moratorium on fishing to save mother fish and allow uninterrupted breeding.

Since Bangladesh has to live with extreme climate patterns, cyclones, tidal bores and other forms of extreme weather will appear from time to time to make lives hard for those who rely on fishing. Therefore, priority must be given to the development of short term livelihood methods in these areas. One possibility can be to help fishing families grow vegetables or raise dairy in small areas as an emergency livelihood option. If development agencies invest in training wives of fishermen to learn crafts like stitching, pottery and basket making, times of natural emergency will not be looked as periods of plight. In addition, the options of food storage facilities can be adopted as immediate solutions to food crisis.

In this system, the district administrators can store away a sizeable amount of food-grain and other essentials to distribute among the fishermen when there is inclement weather or a temporary restriction. In the long run, fishermen can also be given skills training so they do not have to rely on one source of income.