Although the government is providing rice to their families, fishermen said they require cash assistance to meet other expenses
About 70 percent fishermen in coastal areas have no work at the moment because of the ongoing 65-day ban on fishing in the Bay of Bengal.
And due to the lack of income, coupled with the failure to include their names in the government aid list, about 50 percent coastal fishermen can no longer afford three meals a day, according to a study conducted from June 23 to July 1 by non-governmental organisation COAST Trust.
COAST prepared its report based on information taken from 264 fishing families in the coastal districts of Cox's Bazar, Lakshmipur, Bhola, Patuakhali, Khulna and Bagerhat, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.
Iqbal Uddin, a researcher at COAST Trust, said the study was conducted to analyse the impact of the ban on fishermen's socio-economic lives.
According to the study, 42.4 percent of the families had an average monthly income of Tk6,000-Tk10,000 before the ban. But now 60.8 percent of the families have no income at all.
As a result, whereas 95.8 percent of the families used to eat three meals a day before the ban, only 51 percent of the families can eat three times a day now.
The government is providing 43kg of rice per month to help out the fishermen's families during the ban. But even though 65.8 percent of the fishing families got the rice, 34.2 percent of the families have yet to receive the government aid.
Half of those who got the rice received it about a month after the ban began.
Furthermore, 40 percent of the fishermen complained that despite fulfilling all conditions, their names did not appear in the government list for aid, so they got nothing.
According to the study, 67.5 percent of those receiving rice as government aid said rice was not enough to support their families as there was no cash assistance to meet other household expenses. Some 96.1 percent of the fishermen did not receive any assistance under any other social safety net programmes.
The study also found that violence against women in fishermen's families increased during the ban.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of COAST Trust, said, "Most of the fishermen lead inhumane lives during the fishing ban. Rice assistance alone is not enough during the ban; cash assistance is also needed for other household expenses."
The fishing ban began on May 20 this year and will end on July 23.