Fisheries in Bangladesh

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Bangladesh is enriched with extensive and huge qualitative water resources distributed all over the country in the form of different types of ponds, beels, lakes, boropits, small and large rivers and estuaries covering an area of about 4.34 million hectare (ha.). There are four categories of major fisheries resources: these are- 1) Inland open water, 2) Inland closed water, 3) Brackish water, and 4) Marine water. Fisheries sector has been playing a significant role from time immemorial. Contribution of this sector to Bangladesh economy is very important and there is ample scope of exploring the huge potential. Several organizations is carrying out activities related to providing animal protein to this huge population of Bangladesh through conservation, proper management and planned development of fisheries resources; uplifting socio-economic condition of the fishermen; creating employment opportunity for the rural unemployed and landless people; widening avenue for earning more foreign currency by exporting fish, shrimp and fisheries products. According to Fisheries 2003-2004 statistics, 4.91% of the GDP is contributed by the fisheries sector, which is highest among SAARC member countries accounts for about 20% of the total agricultural products. Besides, fisheries sector contributes 5.7% to the country’s total export earning (2004-2005). Fish alone is supplementing about 63% of the animal protein of our daily national diet. So fisheries resources are the important avenue of national economy.

Classification of fish
There are four categories of major fisheries resources: these are- 1) Inland open water
2) Inland closed water
3) Brackish water
4) Marine water
Though we can divide in three types but we can elaborate in two ways these are 1.Inland fish resources: In Bangladesh, there exist over 200 species of fish in inland waters. Inland fishing contributes about 80 percent of the national fish production of Bangladesh, which is situated at the delta of three major river systems- the Ganges, the Jamuna and the Meghna. The fishing areas include rivers, haors, baors, beels, and the floodplains or inundated paddy fields. From the inland source total production of fish in year 2004-05 was 17.41 lakh metric tons which increased to 19.27 lakh metric tons in year 2006-07. The principal commercial species amongst these are Hilsa, Rui, Katla, Mrigal, Catfishes e.g. Magur, Shingi, Aor, Rita, Boal, feather back or Chital, Snakes heads i.e. Shole and other allied fishes of the genus ophicephalus, Punti, fresh water eels known as Bain, Prawn etc. The popular fish Hilsa is available in large quantities in Padma and Meghna rivers. 2.Marine fish resources: Coastal estuaries and sea water are the main sources of marine fish resources. In the coastal areas such as Cox’s Bazar, Kutubdia, Teknaff, Hatia, Sondeep, Moheshkhali etc., marine fishes are available in large quantities. A study says that, in a year, it is possible to catch 4-5 lakh metric tons marine fishes. So far, we have found around 475 types of marine fishes. Among these, 42 types of fishes are caught for trading purposes. Main sea fishes are Koral, Shrimp, Lakkha, Churi, RoopChanda, Vetki, Shark, Maitta etc.

Importance of fisheries resources:
Importance of subsistence fisheries for the rural poor people of Bangladesh is very wide ranged but the significance of fishing within the annual income should not be overstressed, it is one of many sources, which becomes more important during the flood season when all three of their main sources (agriculture labor, non-agriculture labor and self-employment) are at their annual low. It is correct to state that 68% of the rural population goes fishing when there is no other possibility to generate an income. Furthermore, any improvements on fisheries management have to be placed not only in the biological context of the area involved, but also in the social and cultural context of that area. There are three types...
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