Bangladesh should urgently create a new ministry to lead and oversee coordinated efforts in unlocking the full potentials of the blue economy ranging from sustainable development of marine fisheries to sea and coastal tourism, experts working on this field said.
They suggested formation of a separate ministry on blue economy noting that the existing Blue Economy Cell under the Energy and Mineral Resources Division has failed to make any breakthrough to exploit the potentials in the Bay of Bengal.
In interviews with UNB over the past week, the experts observed that the government has taken various measures aimed at exploiting the vast marine resources since settling the maritime boundary disputes with neighbouring India and Myanmar nearly a decade ago
But these have mostly been related to fishing, establishing disciplines in different universities, marine institutes and academes and formulating different laws in this field, according to experts from different universities.
There is still no adequate allocation for research, no attention to develop the value chain and market of seaweed, no visible initiative to assess the stocks of non-living marine resources including mineral resources, they said.
Dr Md Kawser Ahmed, Professor of Oceanography Department in Dhaka University, said a number of ministries and government agencies are currently related to the blue economy, but they are working in scattered ways.
“A coordinated initiative is needed to tap the full potentials of blue economy. So, it is essential to form a separate ministry like Ministry of Ocean Affairs,” he suggested.
“We can add 3-4 per cent to our existing GDP growth, if we are able to ensure the optimum exploitation of blue economy,” he estimates.