Experts at a programme here on Wednesday stressed the importance of developing the skills of the country’s 6.5 lakh coastal fishermen to tap the extraordinary potentials of Bangladesh’s blue economy.
“We need to assess our marine resources and train the fishermen to tap the potentials to accelerate the economic development of the country alongside improving the livelihoods of fishermen,” said Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury, Project Director of Sustainable Costal and Marine Fisheries Project (SCMFP), a new project.
Social Development Foundation (SDF) arranged the workshop titled ‘Supporting Implementation of Community Empowerment & Livelihood Transformation (Component-3) of Sustainable Costal and Marine Fisheries Project (SCMFP)’ at the Cirdap auditorium in the city, marking the inception of the new project.
SDF Managing Director AZM Sakhawat Hossain delivered the welcome address, while Shyamol Chandra Karmakar, Additional Secretary (Fisheries), Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, spoke at the event as the chief guest.
Presided over by former Secretary and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of SDF MI Chowdhury, the workshop was addressed, among others, by Milen Dyoulgerov, Senior Environment Specialist and Task Team Leader, SCMFP, World Bank, and Stephena Kestev, Fisheries Management expert of FAO.
The experts said Bangladesh’s coastal region is known as one of the highly productive areas of the world due to the geographical position and climatic condition.
According to official information, mechanised boats and trawlers now can fish only up to 70 kilometres from Bangladesh’s shoreline out of its total of 660-km area, while the rest of the area remains untapped.
Milen Dyoulgerov said the Costal and Marine Fisheries Project will be able to address the livelihood problems of Bangladesh fishermen, who are the poorest of the poor. Though Bangladesh has the success in community empowerment, the livelihood of this section could not yet be ensured, he added.
SDF, co-implementing agency under the Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance and the Department of Fisheries (DoF) under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock are jointly implementing the project with funds from the World Bank.
The USD 50.24-million new project is aimed at improving the livelihood of the poor fishers’ community of the coastal area with the capacity to better manage local resources and expand their participation in more exclusive and sustainable development.
The five-year project will be implemented in 450 coastline and coastal fisher villages of 45 selected upazilas under 13 coastal districts of the southern part of Bangladesh.