Khulna, Aug. 25 -- Hardship has befallen the people dependent on the Sundarbans for their livelihood ever since a ban on fishing in the mangrove forest was imposed about two months ago.

Fishermen said the government move, without providing them an alternative income source first, is forcing their families to live in difficult situations.

But the Forest Department argued that the ban during the breeding season aims to increase fish production.

Fishing was banned in canals less than 25 feet wide from July 1. There are 450 such canals in the mangrove forest. At the same time, the Forest Department embargoed catching fish and crabs for two months.

Justifying the ban, the authorities concerned said the July-August period is the breeding se...