Vow of a volunteer

Sabrina Sabbir
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017


The morning hour at Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC) Fishery Ghat in Cox’s Bazar is lively. Fishermen, exporters, importers, boat owners all remain busy with the new boats coming directly from the sea starting from sharp 9 to 2. Over thousands of marine fishes and other organisms are brought here. The boisterous crowd and the rippling sea also make the environment light hearted too.


The mysterious underwater world of the sea with its mystique creatures has always been one of the main sources of my attraction and love towards the animal world. And when I got the offer of being a volunteer with a research group on Marine Conservation Study, never think twice of saying “Yes”. The monotony of ending the four years long B.S.Hons. life converted into thrilling quest for marine life.


Tiger Sharks, Marlins, Rays, Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Skate Nosed Shark, Sting Rays, Porcupine, Three spotted crab are one of those amazing creatures that made me astounding about their underwater life. The beautiful dorsal fin of The Marlins that helped them to sail inside the ocean left me speechless. At that very moment there is a feeling of pain rose in the deepest bottom of my heart with a question “Why they are here?”


Bangladesh as being a land of wetlands is mostly dependent on its aquatic resources. Besides fresh water resources, marine resources contribute to national G.D.P also. Tuna, Lobster, Crabs, Squids play an important role in country’s exporting business. But what about the Sharks and Rays?


During visiting the fish drying factories at Mokseda para, got the answer. Noticed larger dried fin sets of sharks and rays along with their dried skin and skeletons in those factories. At a factory of Mokseda para, noticed two large fin sets of an unidentified Shark which were more than 12 inches and seven pieces of dried skin of Guiter fish. Every year an estimated 30-80 billion sharks are being killed for the fin trade world wide. Mostly medium to larze sized dried skin are highly demandable in China, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia for bag and shoes. And so fishermen use bait to catch more sharks and rays from the deep sea for the growing need. Fishermen use approximately twenty to thirty thousands of 4-6 inches long hooks in a long line system in the deep bottom to catch Sharks and Rays and then wait for 10-12 hours. According to the fishermen, in earlier time they used to catch 40-100 in just four to five hours but at now they just find 2-3 usually. Thus the number of Sharks and Rays are reducing day by day.


After returning, when my teacher asked me to explain the trip in a word sadly I coudn’t as there were hundreds of words rambling through my mind at that time. But now I got all those words explained in a little word that is “Vow”. A vow to work in creating a world for the future generations that is not harshly consumed and destroyed by us. A vow to the Mother Nature and her animal world to serve, to fight and to unite for them.

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