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    Bangladesh in aiming, within five years, to become the world's largest exporter of shrimps. The?

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    Bangladesh in aiming, within five years, to become the world's largest exporter of shrimps. The country's Fisheries Development Corporation recently launched an ambitious scheme to achieve this end.

    SYNOPSIS: These fishermen are spreading their nets at the mouth of the Karnafuli river, near Chittagong. This is one of several rivers which empty into the western reaches of the Mouths of the Ganges.

    Until 1977, shrimp fishing was a minor, and primitive, industry catering only for Bangladeshi tables. Then, a survey in that year, by Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand, showed Bangladesh has in its waters a vast shrimp bed that is virtually untapped. Even so, the shrimp catch last year brought in ten million dollars in foreign exchange earnings.

    The Fisheries Development Corporation (FDC) estimated these earnings could rise to twenty-five million dollars in the current year. The industry has already modernised through setting up cold storage, reservoirs and other facilities to process the expanded catch for export. The United States has offered technical help to build bigger cold storages and processing plants, while three countries -- Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore -- have begun negotiations with the Bangladesh government to collaborate in developing the fishing.

    The FDC believes that Bangladesh already far outstrips countries like Malaysia and Singapore in shrimp exports, and the potential is there to make their annual catch the biggest in the world.

    The dramatic growth of the shrimp industry has done something towards reducing the country's drastic unemployment problem, and some fishermen report their earnings have trebled in the past year. Talks on collaboration have eased tensions with Thailand, which last year ignored a protest from Bangladesh that Thai fishermen were poaching in their waters. The Bangladesh Navy captured twelve shrimp-laden Thai trawlers, confiscated ten, and sent two back to Thailand. Now, both countries are looking forward to shrimps bringing greater prosperity.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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