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Ali, M Youssouf


Ali, M Youssouf (1926-1999) a fisheries biologist, policy planner, administrator, and advocate for protecting the open water fishery resources. Born on 1 December 1926 at magura, Youssouf Ali had his early education at Kushtia and graduated from Presidency College, Calcutta with Honours in Zoology. He joined the Department of Fisheries, Government of Bengal in 1945. Later, he obtained MS and PhD degrees from the Institute of Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Canada. He played a key role as a researcher, technocrat, and environmental activist for about 50 years. He held important positions in the government ending his service career as Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Previously he was Director, Department of Fisheries, Government of East Pakistan until the emergence of independent Bangladesh. After the retirement, he joined the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS).

Youssouf Ali was an outstanding fisheries expert. His contribution to the fisheries sector is remarkable. He was team leader of two major exercises- "Monitoring of the experiments on the new and improved management of fisheries in Bangladesh" and "Monitoring of fish production in floodplains under the Third Fisheries Project". As a top policy maker in fisheries sector, he left behind his mark through more than fifty publications, numerous reviews, and advisory analysis. Dr Ali also authored two books, Fish, Water and People (1997) and Open Water Fisheries of Bangladesh (1999) both published by the University Press Limited (UPL), Dhaka. As an environmentalist, he worked hard to conserve the fisheries habitats, wetlands, and aquatic resources. He first pioneered the artificial breeding of major carps, which was instrumental in the expansion of aquaculture in Bangladesh.

As a zoologist, Youssouf Ali played an important role in the introduction of zoological science in the universities of the then East Pakistan. He was a Fellow of the zoological society of bangladesh and served as the President of the Society for two consecutive terms (1974-77). He died on 31 July 1999. [SM Humayun Kabir]