Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the important role of cadets from Marine Fisheries Academy will help the government achieve the SDG-14 by tapping marine resources for sustainable development.

“The government has taken a number of steps to achieve the SDG-14 by using marine resources for sustainable development. I hope your role will be inevitable in achieving this goal of our government,” she said.

Hasina said this while addressing the ‘Mujib Barsho Passing-out Parade’ of the 41th Batch of Marine Fisheries Academy.

The programme was held at Marine Fisheries Academy and the Prime Minister joined it from her official residence Ganobhaban.

The Prime Minister said the cadets, being trained from the academy, are going to become fearless sailors in the deep sea. “I firmly believe this knowledge gained through the hard work, perseverance and intensive training will be helpful in your future work.”

Hasina mentioned that the cadets who passed out from the Academy today are about to leave the small circle of campus and enter the larger field of professional life. “In order to survive in this ever-changing and competitive modern world, you’ve already prepared yourself with the knowledge you’ve acquired.”

She said the key to improvement in working life is hard work, punctuality, honesty, efficiency, values and devotion to the country and the nation. “I think, you’ll brighten the image of the country by acquiring these qualities and performing the respective responsibilities in future workplaces.”

Referring to recovering vast sea areas from India and Myanmar, Hasina said the Awami League government has laid special emphasis on the “Blue Economy” and extraction of resources from the sea has opened up a new door for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh’s growing population.

“With your active participation, I hope, the extraction of marine resources will be further enhanced, which will enrich our economy alongside helping achieve the goal of the government’s blue economy,” she said.

The PM said the Bay of Bengal, a reservoir of natural resources, is constantly supplying a huge amount of fishery resources to meet the demand for protein of the people of Bangladesh. “So, you people have to always play a leading role in the extraction, preservation and marketing of fisheries from the Bay of Bengal alongside conservation of its biodiversity and prevention of environmental pollution.”

Although the task is difficult, Hasina hoped that the knowledge of the cadets will be helpful in this regard.

The PM said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had concentrated on agricultural and industrial revolution as well as the maritime sector to strengthen the economic base of post-independence war-torn Bangladesh.

She said the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974 was enacted by Bangabandhu for Bangladesh in 1974, at a time when there was no specific standard for framing the maritime law in the world.

Hasina mentioned that the United Nations later enacted the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982 as an international maritime law.

She said the Marine Fisheries Academy, the first maritime educational institution in independent Bangladesh, was established in 1973 on the south bank of the river Karnafuli in Chittagong under the far-reaching plan and direction of the Father of the Nation.

The PM said the academy was established to generate trained manpower in the fisheries sector for the efficient extraction of fishery resources in the country’s vast seas, meeting the demand for protein of the largest population and earning foreign currency.

But she regretted that the progress of the Marine Fisheries Academy was hampered after the assassination of Father of the Nation in 1975 and there had been no progress at that time as expected.

Since the Awami League government assumed power, she said, it is transforming this institution into an international standard maritime educational institution.

During this time, Hasina said, the expansion of academic buildings, expansion of facilities in various labs, expanded library facilities, collection of modern training equipment, construction of male and female cadet hostels were done.

At the same time, facilities have also been created for the physical and mental development of the cadets alongside the setting up of a modern standard swimming pool, auditorium and gymnasium, she added.

According to the election manifesto of Awami League government, Hasina said, female cadets are being admitted to this academy for the development of women’s education and empowerment of women.

She mentioned that the recruitment of female cadets started from the 32nd batch in 2010.

Hasina said that from 2018 Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) is being issued by the Department of Shipping in favour of the cadets of this institution who have completed pre-C training of the Department of Nautical and Marine Engineering to provide scope for getting job opportunities in the maritime sector abroad. “As a result, the cadets of this academy have got the opportunity to get employment in the sea-going merchant ships and their field of work has expanded all over the world.”

Mentioning that Marine Fisheries Academy has been affiliated to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University since 2018, she said that four-year BSc (Hons) in Nautical Studies, BSc (Hons) in Engineering and BSc (Hons) in Marine Fisheries degrees are being offered from it.

“As a result, after completing their education from this academy, the path of higher education of the cadets has become easier,” she added.

Hasina said initiatives have been taken to install modern simulators (artificial sea training system) for the academy and it will be done quickly. When it is attached to the academy, soon it will be upgraded to an international standard maritime educational institution, she added.

The Pm said 1,914 cadets, including 58 female cadets who have successfully passed out from the academy, have been working hard in various maritime sectors at home and abroad to strengthen the foundation of the country’s economy.

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This year, a total of 84 female and male cadets, including 33 cadets in the nautical department, 31 cadets in the marine engineering department and 20 cadets in the marine fisheries department, are passing out in the 41st batch of the academy.

Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Dr Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury also spoke at the programme.

Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, on behalf of the Prime Minister, distributed awards among Cadet HM Benazir Ahmed, Cadet Rupaida Rahman, Cadet Abdur Rahman Al Wadud, Cadet Mohammad Ariful Islam and Cadet Asif Alam Darpan for their outstanding performances in different subjects.

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A video documentary on the Marine Fisheries Academy was also screened at the programme.

The Prime Minister also witnessed the passing out parade and took the salute.

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