National Food Security: Contribution of Marine Fisheries
Blue economy refers to sustainable use of oceanic resources for the development of an economy, improved livelihood, and employment conditions while maintaining the ocean ecosystem. The sea has been a source of wealth for millennia, linking economies around the globe.
Bangladesh has a 710 km long coastline with a restrictive economic zone of 200 Nautical Miles inside the Bay of Bengal. The ocean of Bangladesh is contributing a significant role to its financial advancement through improving the economic activities across the country and particularly to the coastal zone in the southern part. By considering the geographical area, the Bangladesh government has recently emphasized enhancing Blue Economic Growth and achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) through using ocean-based resources. Several goals of the SDGs are related to the blue economic growth but SDG 14 (“Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development") is particularly related. Nonetheless, the huge capability of the Bay of Bengal for financial development is as yet not completely realized. Sustainable management and utilization are the first priority, to achieve the sustainable Blue Economy goals.
Oceans provide food and minerals and also regulate the world’s climate and weather as well as contribute to poverty eradication by creating sustainable livelihoods and employment. Seaports assume a critical part in the worldwide supply chains and international trade. Indeed, the seas are a huge source of food security and an engine for worldwide financial development.
Blue Economy has the possibility to add to Bangladesh's economy on a lot more significant level. Bangladesh's Economy infers in excess of 6 billion USD every year from the ocean with the possibility to increase. Twenty-six maritime economic activities have been identified which include the fishery, maritime trade and shipping, energy, tourism, coastal protection, maritime safety and surveillance for development of blue economy in Bangladesh. Almost 19.40 percent of the total fish production of the country comes from marine fisheries. There are about 500 species of fish, 20 species of crabs, 36 species of shrimps, 300 species of snails and oysters in the Bay of Bengal. According to an NGO 'Save Our Sea', billions of dollars can be earned by exporting fish from the sea alone.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Bangladesh is the first of the four countries to achieve huge success in fisheries by 2022. In 2017-18, marine fish was caught 6 million metric tons; although there is an opportunity to catch 8 million metric tons of fish. The fishing limit is only 370 km within the 600 km sea level. But due to lack of skilled manpower and technology, the fishermen of this country can fish only up to 70 km. As a result, despite having huge amount of fishery resources, it is not going to be utilized. The concerned ministry of the government has to take appropriate steps to utilize huge number of resources.
According to the WorldFish, the fisheries sector, including aquaculture, provides employment to 17.8 million people, out of which women constitute 1.4 million. The shrimp industry alone employs over a million people in its processing factories, out of which 88.64 percent are women.
According to the data from the Yearbook of Fisheries Statistics (2015-16), the current CAGR for the fisheries sector is 5.28% over the last 10 years. According to industry estimates, fish production will reach 5.02 million metric tons within 2020-21.
In 2016-17, the sector earned BDT 4,287.64 crore by exporting almost 68.31 thousand metric tons of fish and fisheries products.
Shrimp is one among the mainexport items in Bangladesh. Total shrimp and prawn production including capture has increased from 1,60,000 matric tons in 2002-03 to 2,46,000 metric tons in 2016-17.
However, environmental change extreme events are making seas warmer and more acidic, endangering coral reefs. Furthermore, cyclones and sea-level rise are intensely influencing the coastal communities. To make the environmental change flexibility Blue Economy idea completely useful for Bangladesh, there is an urgent need to foster a structural approach to implementing activities. These activities should consider both ecological and financial advantages. For example, initiatives like mangrove plantation, restoration, and conservation, building oyster reefs, conserving salt marsh, sea grass, and mussel beds can contribute to atmospheric carbon reduction, erosion protection, sea-level rise protection, protection from cyclone and flood risk.