Current net: A threat to biodiversity
Synthetic nylon net, branded as the current net, has become one of the significant threats to biodiversity in the current context of Bangladesh. Current nets usually are used for fishing in our country. Current nets have become a threat to unique aquatic animals. Because any animal once caught in the current net, it cannot get out, so many endangered species of fish and aquatic animals die in the current net. They can no longer play a role in the reproduction of those animals.
As a result, aquatic biodiversity is constantly being lost. The primary purpose of fishermen is to catch fish, but besides fish, unique aquatic animals also come up in fishers' nets. The fishermen then throw the animals into the water or elsewhere due to negligence.
In most cases, those aquatic animals no longer survive. Thus, the number of aquatic animals is constantly declining. And if an endangered animal is caught in a trap, then there is a danger of that animal becoming extinct. And as a consequence of the destruction of biodiversity, we will face various environmental disasters.
On the other hand, the current situation is threatening aquatic animals as well as birds and unique insects. This is because the use of current nets is increasing in fruit and vegetable garden protection.
Consequently, many birds and insects are dying in the current net. The number of birds in private gardens is rising compared to the past. So, they are trying to protect the fruits and crops by using such a method. But the question is, why are birds leaning towards people's private gardens for food? The main reason is that the natural food source of birds is being destroyed.
Birds usually feed on rivers, canals, hills and the sea. But because of the destruction of these sources, the birds are no longer getting food, so people come to the private gardens in search of food and die in the current net. Not only were aquatic animals and birds dying in the current net, but a few days ago, a 07-year-old child also died being caught in the current net while bathing in the river in Meherpur district. Can you imagine how terrible the death of this 07 years child was?
The use of current nets equally harms the environment and violates existing laws of the state, as per section 04 of the Protection and Conservation of Fish Act, 1950, manufacture, fabricate, import, market, store, carry, own, possess, or use current Jal is illegal.
Even though it is prohibited by law, current nets are used almost everywhere in Bangladesh. The main reason current nets are so popular is that with the help of current nets, fish can be trapped more easily, and crops can be protected from birds, thus increasing various environmental risks.
In addition to environmental disasters, the current net is also a significant threat to our economy. Because the biggest obstacle to increasing the production of our national fish, Hilsa, is the current net. As a result of fishermen using current nets, mother Hilsa and JhatkaHilsaare often caught up in the nets. If mother Hilsa and JhatkaHilsa are killed in mass, the production of Hilsa will decrease at some point.
On the other hand, the current net is also a threat to increasing crop production. This is because many beneficial insects die when trapped in the current net, which is helpful for the crop. If these insects die constantly, then crop production will naturally decrease.
The government has been conducting operations against the current net for a long time. But it was not possible to reduce the use of the current net as expected. Because it is illegal to use current nets as well as to produce and import.
Additionally, according to Section 05 of the Protection and Conservation of Fish Act, 1950, manufacture, fabrication, import, marketing or storing of current Jal is punishable with three to five years rigorous imprisonment and shall also be liable for a maximum of 10,000 takas fine. But the reality is that poor fishermen always have to face punishment.
As part of the punishment, fishermen get caught and their nets are burned, imprisoned and fined. In this case only the poor fishermen are impacted. On the other hand, producers and importers are not coming under the law due to their political and economic power.
The first condition to stop the use of current nets is to ban production and improving it. If there is no production and import, the use of the current net will automatically be stopped. It is not possible to stop the use of current nets just by punishing the poor fishermen and farmers and burning the current nets. The production and import of current nets should be eliminated completely.
Md Harisur Rohoman, Student, Department of Law and Human Rights, University of Asia Pacific