Bangladesh’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Rabab Fatima, recently stated that Bangladesh intends to maximize Blue Economy’s potential, recognized as one of the most vital opportunities capable of accelerating progress and sustainable development and pushing overall growth capabilities.
Bangladesh’s 710 km of coastline – extending from the tip of St Martin Island in the southeast to the west coast of Satkhira – and the 121,110 sq km marine area have exceptionally variable ecosystems with crucial ecological and advantageous tax possibilities. Mechanized boats and industrial trawlers are only able to fish up to 70 km from the coast. The promotion and sustainability of sea fishing and deep-sea fishing for tuna remain partially unused. Years ago, the Ministry of Fisheries highlighted the need to map deep waters, carry out investigations, and ultimately sustainably profit from ocean fishing resources within a legal and regulatory framework to protect marine resources in the Bay of Bengal. Now, the sustainable development of a blue economy is at the center of attention of Bangladesh that wants to strengthen sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture, shipbuilding, shipbreaking, salt production, and port facilities. Due to the immense population increase, adequate food supply and proper nutrition are always a matter of great concern, especially for a fast-growing nation like Bangladesh, and marine resources can play an extremely significant role. The Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project affirms that there are over 350 species of fish and sharks, over 30 species of shrimp and lobster, likewise multiple species of crabs, snails, and other categories of seafood-based species. However, only about 15% of the total fish production caught by Bangladeshi fishermen comes from the ocean (0.70 million tons of fish each year out of the 8 million tons available in the Bay of Bengal). Bangladesh resolved maritime border disputes with Myanmar in 2012 and India in 2014 through an arbitration method. The new delimited area of the Bay of Bengal opened a new economic frontier with 75 islands that could be resorted to for both local and foreign tourists. Another factor to consider is that with the increase of the country’s population, the renewable resources of wind and solar energy could be exhausted. Additional sources of renewable energy could come from a better understanding and knowledge of the oceans: the impact of wind, waves, high tide, and ebb tide, which require further research and study. By exploring and using these resources with appropriate technologies, the country’s economy could grow faster. Furthermore, Bangladesh can make it’s port facilities available to neighboring landlocked countries such as Bhutan and Nepal. This access should be considered as one of the most significant components of its blue economy, whose investments could play a vital role in ensuring that Bangladesh becomes a developed nation in the coming decades. Many analysts, therefore, believe that collaboration with international organizations and companies with extensive experience in managing the complexity that these challenges pose to the country is fundamental. Finally, it is essential to strengthening research capacity and policies to support national institutions capable of implementing sustainable development and cooperation with other countries to protect ocean ecosystems from the negative impact of climate change, pollution, and overfishing. (Source: Dhaka Tribune)