Deep-sea resources largely untapped | The Daily Star


Bangladesh can catch fish from the Bay of Bengal up to 660 kilometers, but its trawlers only fish 60 kilometers due to lack of facilities.

For example, in 2016, the country captured only 95,000 tonnes of fish against 8 million tonnes from India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand from the Gulf of Bengal. Bangladeshi trawlers accounted for 11 percent of total catches last year.

"We have huge untapped resources in the sea," said Khurshed Alam, secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Maritime Affairs Unit, while presenting a speech on the blue economy from Bangladesh's point of view at the International Biennial Conference and the Annual General Assembly. 2017.

The Bangladesh Zoological Society and the Department of Zoology of Dhaka University organized the event at the Shishu Academy of Bangladesh.

The Minister of Finance, AMA Muhith, expressed himself among others on this occasion.

According to Alam, some 69,000 mechanized and non-mechanized craft boats and about 200 industrial body trawlers fish more than 60 kilometers from the coastline.

And Hilsha is the most precious species captured.

The average depth of the Bay of Bengal is 2,500 meters. And yet, there is virtually no possibility of catching demersal fish within 50 meters of water depth. Longline fishing is totally absent in deep waters, he said.

There are tremendous opportunities to increase marine catches by introducing technologies, longlines and incentives for large ocean trawlers, said Alam, also a former naval officer.

The world's population will be 9 billion by 2050 and an additional 100 million tons of fish will be needed at that time.

"It will be good if we can catch at least 5 million tons of fish from the sea."

Not only fish, but the sea also offers opportunities for aquaculture, energy and mineral resources, transporting freight through the development of port and marine facilities, tourism and biotechnology, he said.

The blue economy includes activities that take place directly or indirectly in the seas, oceans and coasts, using ocean resources and contributing to inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and growth. wellbeing while preserving the health of the ocean. ]

Bangladesh took the initiative to tap into the blue economy after getting the right to fish and explore resources in 118,813 square kilometers of sea and fish up to 200 nautical miles in the Bay of Bengal on the basis of the verdict of an international court in 2014.

"Fish oils are used to make pharmaceutical products Fish skin is also used to make jackets."

Alam, citing Bangladesh's foreign trade abroad of $ 74 billion in 2015, said more than 90% of merchandise trade was maritime.

Some 2,600 foreign ships visited Bangladesh's ports and $ 5 billion had to be paid to transport cargo because of inadequate merchant vessels, he said.

The sea also offers the opportunity to exploit the prospect of exploring fossil fuels and other mineral resources, renewable energy, modernization of the salt production industry as well as cruise tourism.

"Population aging trends, rising incomes and relatively low transportation costs will make coastal and ocean areas increasingly attractive." Cruise tourism is the fastest growing sector. faster in the leisure travel industry, "he added.

Finance Minister, AMA Muhith, said he lacked the capabilities and skills to explore and use the blue economy.

Coordinated initiatives of all, including public and private sectors, are needed to utilize the resources of the sea, he said.

Muhith, citing the increase in food production since 1971, said that Bangladesh has been able to exploit its land much better than marine resources.

"Not only the prospect, there are also many risks associated with the blue economy.We must proceed in a planned manner to ensure sustainability," said Selima Khatun, special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

"We must ensure that no resources are destroyed to acquire another resource," she said, citing an earlier attempt to catch the frog and export the paws of the species.

The frog feeds on insects, but indiscriminate catches have affected its population. The use of pesticides has also affected aquatic life, she said.

Amanullah Chowdhury, vice president of Rangs Group, said that government support, especially from the Fisheries Department, is needed to develop the blue economy.

"We do not get as much support," he said, citing delays in decision-making.

Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman, Vice Chancellor of the University of Dhaka; Khan Habibur Rahman, President of the Bangladesh Zoological Society; Dr. Anwarul Islam, Chairman of the Department of Zoology of Dhaka University; and FH Ansarey, general manager of ACI's agribusiness division, spoke among others.



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