10 boats destroyed over illegal sand extraction in Halda

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The Hathazari upazila administration, led by UNO Ruhul Amin, destroys 10 engine-run boats on charge of extracting sand illegally from the Halda, Bangladesh’s largest natural breeding ground for carp Dhaka Tribune

The boats were seized from a 4-km stretch of the river from Sattar Ghat to Nayahat

The Hathazari upazila administration, led by UNO Ruhul Amin, conducted a major drive on Halda River on Saturday to protect fish and aquatic mammals.  

As part of the drive, 10 engine-run boats were seized and destroyed for extracting sand illegally from the Halda, Bangladesh’s largest natural breeding ground for carp. 

The boats were seized from a 4-km stretch of the river from Sattar Ghat to Nayahat.

Besides, a boat owner was fined Tk 20,000 and 1,000 metres of illegal fishing net were seized during the drive.

From 2018 till Saturday, 2.42 lakh metres of fishing net, nine sand-extracting dredgers and 27 boats were seized and destroyed during 124 drives conducted by the Hathazari Upazila administration.

According to the Halda River Research Institute, 26 dolphins have so far died in Halda River since September 2017.

It is presumed that the aquatic mammals died after being hit by the propellers of the sand-extracting dredgers in the Halda.

On May 19, the High Court formed a committee headed by the deputy commissioner of Chittagong to stop the killing of river dolphins and mother fish as well as protect the biodiversity of the Halda River. 

The bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan issued the order during a virtual hearing on Tuesday, when two reports on the matter were placed before it by the director general of the Department of Environment and district commissioner of Chittagong, respectively. 

The court also asked lawmakers elected from areas near the Halda River to act as advisers to the committee. 

Two types of dolphins are found in Bangladesh- Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) and Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica).

The official status of the river dolphins, locally known as Shushuk [Platanista gangetica] is “critically endangered” as per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a universally recognised index of the world’s endangered animals.

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