The Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Md Shahab Uddin, said today that a “National Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for Sharks and Rays in Bangladesh and Trade Advisories CITES Non-Detriment Guidelines” have been developed to protect endangered sharks and rays from extinction.
“This action plan will play an important role in controlling cross-border trade in sharks and rays, ensuring sustainable and productive livelihoods for the coastal community and improving the marine ecosystem,” he said. .
The Environment Minister made the remarks while speaking as a chief guest at a national consultation meeting organized by the Department of Forestry at the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel.
He said the action plan, formulated with technical assistance from the Wildlife Conservation Society, funded by the Sustainable Forest and Livelihood (SUFAL) project, would serve as a guide for government agencies, local communities, NGOs, institutes research and private companies.
Shahab Uddin said more than 100 species of sharks and rays are threatened with extinction.
“It is very important to maintain the healthy environment of our coastal and marine ecosystems,” he said, adding that excessive catches should be controlled to protect sharks and rays from extinction forever.
“That is why all parties involved must work together without delay so that marine ecosystems and biodiversity can make a significant contribution to our livelihoods and the national economy,” the minister said.
Shahab Uddin said the two declared marine protected areas, namely Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area covering 1738 sq km and St Martin Marine Protected Area covering 1743 sq km will play an important role in the conservation of sharks and rays. .
All shark and ray species at high risk of extinction are strictly protected under our Wildlife (Conservation and Safety) Act 2012, he said.
“Urgent action must be taken to conserve these species in collaboration with all law enforcement agencies,” he added.
Shahab Uddin said Bangladesh’s efforts in researching, formulating policies and protecting their important habitats related to sharks and rays have received international recognition and support.
The Secretary for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Dr. Farhina Ahmed, chaired the meeting.
Additional Secretary (Administration) Iqbal Abdullah Harun, Chief Conservator of Forests Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, Director General of Fisheries Department Khandaker Mahbubul Haque and Project Manager (PD) of SUFAL Project Gobinda Roy were present as special guests.
Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur, Senior Marine Conservation Program Officer, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangladesh, gave a keynote presentation.