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Independent University, Bangladesh


An Essay on the Management of Open-water

By Aninda Mustafa 1120560
Tanishaa Arman Akangkha 1130431
Nurann Sidiqqi 1220962

Submitted to : Professor Aminur Rahman

ECN 441 : Natural Resource Economics
Department of Economics

Bangladesh, a riverine country with the privilege of various rivers,
ponds, lakes and floodplains, has a massive area of water resources at
the size of 4.575 million hectares. Bangladesh possesses enormous area
of wetlands including rivers and streams, freshwater lakes and marshes,
haors, baors, beels, water storage reservoirs, fish ponds, flooded
cultivated fields and estuarine systems with extensive mangrove
swamps. Apart from that, the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the
marine fisheries stretches over a huge 1,66,000 km2. These inland and
marine waters have traditionally been the main source of fish for people
of Bangladesh. As a predominantly agro-based country, the contribution
of the fisheries sector to the economy has been significant and it has
also been the main source of animal protein, employment opportunities,
food security, foreign earnings, aquatic biodiversity conservation and
socio-economic development. The fisheries sector contributes 3.74% to
GDP and 22.23% to agro-based production. Fish makes up for about
60%1 of our daily protein intake and almost 10% of the population
directly or indirectly depend on the fisheries for their livelihood.
The fisheries sector in Bangladesh can be broadly divided into four
major sub-sectors:
inland capture or open-water fisheries, inland culture or closed-water
fisheries, marine industrial (trawling) fisheries and marine artisanal
fisheries. The open-water fishery isa self-sustaining system although
1 Banglapedia

human interventions have significantly deteriorated its health and

productivity in recent years. The culture fishery on the other hand is
primarily an economic venture managed by private individuals and
The marine fishery is an open access resource, which has become a
major source of economicreturn for the country. The inland fisheries
contribute about 72% of the total catch and the remaining 28% comes
from the marine fisheries. The relative contributions of these subsectors are shown in Figure 1. The average annual growth rate of the
fisheries sector in the recent past has been about 6.5%, which is likely
to increase due to the growing demand for fish and fish products. Over
the last few years Bangladesh has taken various new policies for
sustainable aquaculture production, provide aquaculture extension
services to those who need it and has put into action fish conservation
activities which is supposed to increase the national fisheries production
as well as the growth rate in the fisheries sector. With the use the
Execution Fisheries friendly policy total fish production has increased
from 27 lakh metric ton in 2008-09 to 29 lakh metric ton in 2009-10, as



In 2010-11 fish production was still growing at 32 lakh metric ton and it
is expected to grow further in the next four to five years.

2 Page 5-6 ANNUAL REPORT, Department of Fisheries Bangladesh

Production (lakh MT)

Production (lakh MT)



Management Recommendations
The policies made by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) regarding
the fisheries sector has been growth oriented but the question remains
on the sustainability of the sector and its environment as a result. Since
success in this sector involves staying in compliance with environmental
laws and systems, the GoB can take various actions to ensure growth as
well as sustainability. Beginning with identifying stakeholders from top
to bottom level, state the objectives, introduce training and capacity
building, find alternative income generation for wetland dependent
families and issue strict policies.

Encourage regional and bilateral dialog on water sharing and

water shed management.

Take steps to protect watersheds in


Restrict usage of certain tools and gears to limit overfishing and

increase the effort of fishing to reduce the amount of fish caught

Impose a tax or quota on fishing quantity which will not only

demotivate excessive fishing but also make it more manageable.

Develop capacity to understand and respond to the longer-term

implications of water scarcity and climate change.

Develop integrated planning and management systems for water

use and develop systems to conserve water for the dry season.







concerned GoB agencies to cooperate in development and

enforcement of industrial pollution regulations.

In Bangladesh freshwater fish is preferred over marine species. The fish

catch from the inland open water capture fishery is decreasing while
the demand for fish is increasing. The fish yield from the rivers and
estuaries has decreased.
Marine fisheries resources contribute about 25% of the total annual
fisheries harvest. Of the total marine harvests, about 95% come through
small scale sectors.

Management Analysis through survey

Policies can be adopted in order to ensure proper management of
fisheries resources and harvest fish at a sustainable level. A survey must
be performed and the accumulated data can be utilized for the
betterment of wetland management. The Protection and Conservation of
Fish Act (1950) and related Protection and Conservation of Fish
Regulations (1985) prohibit fishing by harmful methods, pollution and
other activities detrimental to fisheries, and enable the declaration of
closed seasons. However, DOF has limited powers to enforce fishing










leaseholders, with support from magistrates.3

The following recommendations are

Analysis of the previous surveys should be done to from specific

recommendations to measure the nature and specificity of the

marine resources.
Results of the analysis should be given to the owners of the

trawlers, mechanized boats and fisher communities.

Surveys should be conducted regarding the presence and
abundance of pelagic fish, like tuna, mackerel, etc in the exclusive

economic zone.
Harvest of fish by the trawlers in the shallow coastal areas should

be banned.
Necessary research activities should be conducted for the
development of the fisheries resources.

3 Flood Hazard Research Centre

To increase the income of wetland dependent families as well as

fish production.
To increase the populations & numbers of species present for key
wetland dependent wildlife.
Conservation of marine biological resources
According to the previous survey, the quantity of exploitable fish
has achieved its maximum level. Under these circumstances, strict
decisions should be taken against increases of mechanized or nonmechanized boats engaged in fish harvest in the marine zones.
This is required to keep the fish harvest at its maximum







conserved to ensure natural breeding. Appropriate preventive









chemicals and atomic wastes in water bodies.

More priority on small scale fisheries sector

Small scale fisheries contribute about 95% of the total fish

harvested from the marine water. Emphasis should be given to the
small scale fisher communities in the coastal areas. Measures
should be taken to limit the uncontrolled fish harvest from the
marine environment. Small-scale fishers in the coastal region
should get fish harvesting rights. Special emphasis should be
given to the life and resources of the fishers communities. To
increase working efficiency and family income of the fishers
community, appropriate training programs should be developed on

fish harvest techniques, fish conservation, distribution, processing

and preservation. Infrastructure facilities of the coastal fisheries
landing centers should be developed to reduce the spoilage of








conservation of marine fisheries resources to increase fisheries













mismanagement of fisheries that is leading to an unsustainable

condition and how to manage this critical situation. This document has
reviewed the status, problems and prospects of the open-water fisheries
of Bangladesh. The key observations made above and the corresponding
recommendations can make a big difference in improving the current
status of this sector.
The Government of Bangladesh has taken up steps so that the fisheries
activities will facilitate the creation of full time employment opportunity
of 4.62 lakh (applicable for unemployed people)* during the fiscal year
2012-13. They are also targeting a certain level of food security by the
year 2013 and the fisheries sector can have a hand in that if utilized and
handled in the right way. The government has commercialized most of
the inland wetland fisheries and, as a result, has lost most of the control
in the industry. It is, therefore, upto them and their policies to take our
fisheries in the right direction.

The people of Bangladesh are known to have survived on fish and rice.
This sector also employs some two and half million people directly. Its
importance in the national economy has grown rapidly in the recent
past through export of fish and shrimp to European and North American
countries. Therefore, it is important to manage this valuable resource in
a cautious way. Moreover, a healthy fresh and marine fisheries sector
will also imply a healthy aquatic ecosystem in Bangladesh. Thus,
managing the fisheries sectors in an efficient, equitable and sustainable
manner will ensure the health and prosperity of the people and the
environment of Bangladesh.


1. Fisheries sector review and future development studies, Dhaka

April 2003
2. National Fisheries Policy, Bangladesh 1998
3. Open-water fisheries in Bangladesh, Islam Faisal
4. Annual Report, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Bangladesh
5. Management of inland open water fisheries of Bangladesh:
issues and options, Hossain, Monir; Islam, Aminul; Ridgway,
Stephen; Matsuishi,Takashi, 2006
8. Banglapedia
9. Wetland Biodiversity Rehabilitation Project, Department of
Fisheries, Bangladesh
10. Flood Hazard Research Centre
11. - Bangladesh Water Development