Marine fishes and its management

Dr. Pear Mohammad :
Bangladesh has 716 kilometers of coastal belt along the Bay of Bengal. This vast territory is a rich source of marine fishes. At its bottom level the total content of fishes and shrimps are 1,56,000 and 7000-8000 metric tons respectively. Two hundred nautical miles from the sea shore is considered as exclusive economic zone. Different kinds of marine fishes are caught from this area. The continental shelf of Bangladesh covers upto 50 kilometers deep and consists 3700 square kilometers. The fishes available there are Hilsha, Poa, Rupchanda, Datina, Churi, Chowkha, Katamach, Lakha, Kamila, Rupban, Rangachowkha, Lalmach, Maita, Loitta, Bagda, Chapa, Bagachama, Harina, Nuachai, Shark, Crab and Squid. The fishing ground of the country mainly comprises of four fishing zones – south patches near Cox’sbazar, south of south patches in the west of Teknaf, swatch of no ground in the south of Dublarchar and middling in the south of Patuakhali. However, fishing is frequently done in other areas also.
A vast population of the coastal belt is associated with marine fishing and fish marketing.
Annual harvesting of marine fishes is 5.17 lakh metric tons among which troll fishing and artisanal fishing are 0.40 and 4.79 metric tons. After meeting the local demand, taka 4,703 crore is earned per annum through exporting fishes to the EU countries, especially in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, United States, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and other developed countries of the world. Shell, oyster and crab as well as marine shrimps are also exported. Besides, government is earning revenue from the fishing trawlers as well as issuing and renewing fishing license of the fishing boats.
The coastal area of Bangladesh is blessed with 475 species of fishes and 36 species of shrimps. Marine fishes are renewable resources. The fishing increases year after year if reservation, conservation, breeding and scientifically sustainable fishing of this resources are ensured. To maintain this situation, use of limited fishing boat, stopping fishing of brood hilsha, small hilsha and other fishes during their breeding period has to be ensured. Moreover, the use of prohibited fishing net and net loops should be restricted. Marine fishes are rich in food nutrients. Besides, these fishes are capable of resisting the thyrotoxicosis disease as these contain iodine. The popularity and demand of marine fishes is therefore rising day by day in the country.
Bangladesh Government has permitted 177 trawlers for marine fishing where 40 are fishing trawlers and 137 are shrimp trawlers. About 7 percent fishing is done by modern trawlers and remaining 9 percent by mechanized or non-mechanized country boats. Beyond this permission, about 44,000 country boats and trawlers also catch marine fishes. Recently, Bangladesh has received every rights on additional 1.11 square kilometer area in the Bay. Proper management of this newly achieved territory will make it meaningful and enrich our fish resources.
Marine Fisheries Academy has been established to produce expert manpower for scientific fishing in the sea. Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute as an autonomous organization is conducting researches on conservation, development and management of marine fishes.
Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC) is working for marine fishes and for the development of fish industry. The main objectives of BFDC are to facilitate fish and fish industry and to implement projects related to fish catching, processing, preservation, conservation and marketing.
Sustainable harvesting and management of fishes and other marine resources in the Bay of Bengal are very important for having a suitable environment and ecosystem. It is urgent to know the effects of the environmental change of the world on fishes and other resources in Bangladesh and thereby to take measures to cope up with the environmental changes. Cooperation and assistance of the developed countries is also required for having a sustainable production, harvesting and management in the Bay of Bengal. This vast water resources of Bangladesh is very much needed for the welfare of the nation. Let us all care for our sea and fishes.
-PID