Dhaka, September 2, 2020: Coastal fishermen have suffered huge economic losses due to a 65-day ban on fishing and a general holiday during the Corona. Not being able to fish for a long time, their loss has increased many times compared to last year.
Fishing in 4 unions of Patharghata upazila in Barguna was closed from March to May this year due to corona. 84.3 per cent of the respondents said that their income decreased due to corona. And only 15.1 percent said their income has not changed. The monthly income of the family has decreased to 5138 Taka, which means the daily income stands at 171 Taka.
Respondent fishermen said that before Corona, their average income per family was Tk 11,125. This means that each family earned 370 Taka per day. The monthly income of 580 respondents, i.e. 56.97 per cent, was Tk.5001 to Tk.10,000. The remaining 299, or 29.38 per cent, said their income ranged from Tk 10,001 to Tk 15,000.
The income of 17 percent of the fisher folks has decreased from 81 percent to 100 percent. The income of the remaining 24 percent of the fisher folks has decreased from 61 percent to 60 percent. Eighty-four percent of respondents said they did not receive any assistance during the corona. 83.2 per cent respondents said they had taken loans to address their income deficit.
Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) conducted a telephone survey to quickly analyze the situation under the Sustainable Ocean project, supported by the Danish Institute for Human Rights. The purpose of the survey was to understand the situation of the fishing community during the Corona period and later during the 65-day fishing ban. With the help of Swedish SIDA, this research project is exploring issues on the lives and human rights of fisher folk community in the country’s coastal areas.
The purpose of the survey was to determine the extent to which marine fishermen have suffered during the 65-day fishing ban and corona vacation. It also attempted to understand the awareness of fishermen about corona and their right to access and health care under the government’s social safety net programmes during corona.
The non-government organization BILLS and Coast Trust have assisted in the collection of information. The survey was conducted in the project location. The survey was conducted by MJF and the Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Liberal Arts. A total of 1018 respondents took part in the survey. Of these, 519 are from Patharghata and 499 from Maheshkhali. Among the respondents, 306 were women and 712 were male.
The press conference was moderated by Shaheen Anam, Executive Director of MJF. The results of the survey were presented by MJF’s Senior Program Manager (Research) Sheikh Giasuddin Ahmed and ULAB’s teacher Dr. Romana Sultana.
The 65-day ban on fishing lasted from May 20 to July 23. As a result, 32.6 percent of respondents said they had no means of livelihood, meaning they had no income. The rest had a monthly income of Tk 3,208, which is only 108 Taka per day for the whole family. 32.8 percent have worked as day laborers. 16.5 percent have spent their days building boats and nets.
86% of the respondents received food aid and cash. 86.7% people had fish cards as fishermen. 66.2% people did not know the amount of government assistance they are entitled to.
Thirty-eight per cent of the respondents told that their income has been completely cut off ranging from 81 per cent. Another 26 percent of respondents told that their income streams have been cut from 61 percent to 80 percent.
56.7 percent of the respondents said they did not notice any major change in the health condition due to corona. However, 43.3 percent of the respondents think that their environment has improved and it has become easier to maintain cleanliness in terms of health. 89.9 per cent of the respondents said that they did not face any difficulty in getting health support during the coronation period.
79.8 percent of female respondents believe that economic cause was the main cause of domestic violence during the holiday and fishing bans. On the other hand, 49.1 percent female respondents reported physical abuse. 62% of women think that domestic violence has increased at this time. But 94 percent of the women did not see any initiative to stop domestic violence.
It has been suggested that it is important to provide other employment opportunities for fishermen to deal with emergencies.