At least five fishing boats with more than 70 fishermen in Bangladesh’s southern coastal district of Barguna have been missing since Friday night due to a strong storm, according to local authorities.
The fishermen went to the Bay of Bengal for catching Hilsha (Elish) fish, which is the national fish in Bangladesh, while the gusty storm swept over the southern sea, a common place to catch Hilsha fish in Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar.
“We have not found any trace of five fishing boats (locally called trawlers) with over 70 fishermen till now,” Abdul Mannan, president of Barguna Trawler Laborer Union, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday morning.
He added the families of those missing are passing through a tense moment.
Fishing in the Bay of Bengal is the main livelihood of nearly 500,000 underprivileged people in 21 coastal districts of Bangladesh. Millions of others throughout the whole delta nation of above 165 million people are also indirectly dependent for their livelihoods on fish trading.
Mannan said the president of Barguna Trawler Owners' Association, Golam Mostafa Chowdhury, is in India now in search of Bangladeshi missing fishing boats and fishermen.
Sometimes, fishing boats and fishermen of three South Asian neighboring countries (Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar) drift away into neighboring territories due to bad weather. In that case, the drifting fishermen are returned to their concerned countries through official procedures.
But accidents are also common in the region especially during the monsoon period, the primary season of catching Hilsha fish.
Local Patharghata police station chief, Abul Bashar, however, told Anadolu Agency that no one has filed any written complaint over the missing boats and the crew members.
“But from different informal sources, we have learned about the disaster,” he added.