Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim on Tuesday said that the government is planning to set up a separate economic zone for the fisheries sector aiming to boost the growth of the industry.

“The government will provide all kinds of necessary support, including land acquisition and setting up of the economic zone,” he said while speaking at a workshop as the chief guest.  

Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP) of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) organised the workshop titled “Fisheries Subsidies in the Context of LDC Graduation and Way Forward” at the NEC conference room in the capital.

Relevant stakeholders made a proposal for setting up of a separate economic zone for the fisheries sector.

“The success of such economic zone depends on spontaneous investment from private entrepreneurs. The government has already initiated a project to encourage deep-sea fishing,” he also informed.

Fisheries and Livestock Ministry Secretary Nahid Rashid, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) President Barrister Md Sameer Sattar and Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association President Kazi Belayet Hossain were present as special guests at the event chaired by ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan.

Earlier in June 2022, World Trade Organization (WTO) members adopted the Agreement of Fisheries Subsidies during the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC-12) of WTO which is expected to have positive impacts on the sustainability of marine fish stocks and fisheries through curbing subsidies on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; prohibiting subsidies on fishing on overfished stocks.

Though Bangladesh does not provide substantial subsidies on marine fisheries, the possibility of providing partial subsidies for this sector might be limited once Bangladesh graduates to the developing country from least developed country (LDC) category.

In this context, the workshop was organised to identify the next course of action for continuing fisheries subsidies in the aftermath of Bangladesh’s LDC graduation against the backdrop of the aforementioned WTO Agreement of Fisheries Subsidies.

Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Dr Nahid Rashid observed that there are huge untapped opportunities in the blue economy sector of the country and called for increased public and private investment for tapping such opportunities.

President of DCCI Barrister Md Sameer Sattar said that a comprehensive study needs to be carried out on the impact of withdrawing fishery subsidies in Bangladesh and suggested that this issue can be raised at the next Ministerial Conference of the WTO based on the findings of the study.

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