A background Paper for Bangladesh Fisheries Value Chain Study Dr. Md. Ferdous Alam Research Fellow December 2010



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A Background Paper for Bangladesh

Fisheries Value Chain Study

Dr. Md. Ferdous Alam

Research Fellow


December 2010

___________________________________________________________

Institute of Agricultural and Food Policy Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Putra Infoport, Jalan Kajang-Puchong, 43400 UPM Serdang Selangor, Malaysia

Introduction

Fish and fisheries have been an integral part of the life of the people of Bangladesh from time immemorial, and play a major role in employment, nutrition, foreign exchange earning and other aspects of the economy. Fish is a natural complement to rice in the national diet, giving rise to the adage Maache-Bhate Bangali (“a Bengali is made of fish and rice”). At present fish alone supplies about 58% of animal protein. About 13 million people of the country are directly or indirectly dependent on this sector for their livelihood. The Poverty Reduction Strategy paper (PRSP) and National Fisheries Strategy indicate that income generating opportunities for rural households are the most promising in the fisheries sector (MoP, 2005; DoF, 2006). It is estimated that 73% of rural households are involved in some form of freshwater aquaculture on floodplains throughout the country (Mazid, 1999). Aquaculture has the potential to provide new employment opportunities in the rural areas by increasing both self-employment and demand for hired labour (Karim et al. 2006). Fisheries sector currently contributes 4.64% to the gross domestic product (GDP) (MoF, 2009), 23 % to the agricultural GDP and 5.10% to foreign exchange earnings through export (Sarder, 2007). Number of fish and prawn farmers are estimated at 0.308 and 0.115 million respectively. In contrast, number of fishermen is estimates at 0.128 million comprising 0.077 million of fishers operating in inland water bodies and 0.051 million operating on marine fisheries (DoF, 2010a). Fisheries Sector Review (2003) estimates that some 1.1 million people- landless, part time and full time fishers and landowners- are directly involved in capture fisheries. Around 650,000 (67%) are engaged in the inland fisheries and 444,000 (33%) in coastal and marine fisheries. Around 177,500 people are involved in fish and shrimp or prawn seed collection, husbandry and distribution


National Fishery Policy

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock prepared the National Fishery Policy (NFP) in 1998 with the overall objective of developing the fisheries sector. The objectives of the NFP are : i) to enhance fisheries production, ii) to alleviate poverty through creating self-employment and improvement of socio- economic conditions of the fishers, iii) to fulfil the demand for animal protein, iv) to achieve economic growth through earning foreign currency by exporting fish and fisheries products, and v) to maintain ecological balance, conserve biodiversity, ensure public health provide recreational facilities (MoFL, 1998).


This document addresses policy measures to be undertaken in four areas or dimensions and recommends policies for several supporting services. The four dimensions of NFP are: (a) policies for the preservation, management and exploitation of fisheries resources in inland open water; (b) policies for fish cultivation and management in inland closed water; (c) policies for prongs and fish cultivation in coastal areas; and (d) policies for preservation, management and exploitation of sea fishery resources (Mandal, 2006). The overall strategy of fisheries subsector development envisages intensification of aquaculture by species and ecosystems, addition of export-oriented species, ensuring biodiversity and preserving natural breeding grounds, product diversification, value addition, and development of appropriate market infrastructure (GPRB, 2009)
Fisheries Resources in Bangladesh

Fish production in Bangladesh takes place under three broad environments namely, i) inland capture fishery, ii) inland culture fishery and iii) marine fishery (Table 1). The first one is an inland capture fishery while the second one is inland culture (aquaculture) fishery. Inland capture fishery comprises rivers and estuaries, Sundarban (water resources in the forest), Beel (deepest part of the floodplain, often with permanent area of water), Kaptai lake (a man-made lake for generation of hydroelectricity) and floodplain. The corresponding water areas are: 853,863 ha for river and estuaries, 177,700 ha for Sundarban, 114,161 ha for beel, 68,800 ha for Kaptai lake, and 2,832,792 ha for floodplain totalling 4,047,316 ha for the total inland open water bodies (capture fisheries). The inland closed water bodies comprise 305,025 ha of ponds and ditches, 5.488 ha of baor (ox-bow lakes) and 217,877 ha of shrimp farms (both freshwater and saline waters) totalling 529,390 ha of total inland closed water bodies (culture fisheries). Thus, the total inland water areas (inland open water capture fishery and inland closed water culture fisheries together) stand at 4,575,706 ha.


In addition, the country has a coastal area of 2.30 million ha and a 710 km-long coast line along the Bay of Bengal, which supports a large artisanal and coastal fisheries. Further, the country has a 200-mile EEZ in the Bay of Bengal (Mazid, 2002). The Bay of Bengal is situated in the south of Bangladesh. There is a total of 166,000 sq km marine water area including EEZ. Fishing is confined only within 100-meter depth (DoF, 2003).
Fish Biodiversity in Bangladesh

The fisheries are multispecies in nature: there are 300 species of fish and 20 species of prawns in Bangladesh (Rahman, 1989). The most common species is ilish (national fish), which accounts for nearly half of total marine catch and about 18% of total fish production of the country. The inland freshwaters of Bangladesh are inhabited by 60 native and 13 exotic species of fish and 20 species of shrimp, of which the majority occur in impounded water bodies. The indigenous carp species of Bangladesh can be divided into two subgroups: major carps (katla, rohu, mrigel and kalbasu) and minor carps (bata, reba, nandina and gonia). Most of the freshwater river systems and floodplains are natural breeding grounds for carps. The major carp species occur in deep pools of the Padma-Brahmaputra river system (Padma, Jamuna, Arial Khah, Kumar and old Brahmaputra rivers) and the Halda River System in Chittagong. The minor carp species inhabit small rivers and the shallow waters of floodplains in the north east (Mymensingh, Netrokona and Mohonganj), southwest (Faridpur and Jessore) and northwest (greater Rajshahi area) (refer to map). Exotic species, comprising mostly Chinese carps, have been introduced since the 1950s (Table 1), but this introductions have not been well documented. Introduced species include silver carps, grass carp, bighead carp, black carp, common carp, silver barb. Tilapia and Mahseer.


Table 1. Exotic Fish Species Introduced into Bangladesh, 1952-98

Species

Common name

Place of origin

Source

Year

Trichogaster pectoralis

Gourami

Thailand

Singapore

1952

Oreochromis mosambicus

Tilapia

Africa

Thailand

1954

Cyprinus Carpio var. communis

Common carp

Temperate Asia/Europe

Not known

1960

Ctenopharyngodon idella

Grass carp

China

Hong Kong

1966

Hypopthalmichthys molitix

Silver carp

China

Hong Kong

1969

O. niloticus niloticus

Nilitoca (tilapia)

Africa

Thailand

1974

Puntis gonionotous

Sarputi

Thailand

Thailand

1977

O. carpio var. specularis

Mirror carp

Temperate Asia/Europe

Nepal

1979

Chanos chanos

Milkfish

Red Sea, Indian & Pacific oceans

Not known

1979

Aristicthys nobilis

Bighead carp

China

Nepal

1981

Mylophanyngodon piceus

Black carp

China

China

1983

Vlarius gariepinus

Catfish

Africa

Thailand

1989

Pangasius suctchi

Large catfish

South Asia

Thailand

1989

O. nioliticus

Tilapia (GIFT)

Africa

Philippines

1994

Chanos chanos

Milkfish

Red Sea, Indian & Pacific oceans

Thailand

1998

Tor tor

Mohasol

Local species, Nepal

Nepal

Not known

Source: Adopted from Dey et. al. (2008)
Carps are by far the most important species for pond culture. Three major Indian carps (rohu [Labeo rohita], catla [Catla catla] and mrigal [Cirrhinus cirrhosus] and one exotic carp (silver carp [Hypopthalmichthys molirix]) accounts for about 74% of pond production in FY 2007-08 (DoF, 2009). Other major cultures species in Bangladesh include the grass carp, common carp, silver carp. tilapia and Pangas.

Number of freshwater species is declining at an alarming rate with some species, in recent years, having become extinct. Overfishing, rapid extraction of fish seed and broodstock, destructive and unregulated fishing practices, pollution, introduction of exotic species, loss of aquatic habitat due to siltation, dam construction, and other anthropogenic activities have been the major causes of fish species loss. Many species are already in crisis and despite conservation initiatives it may already be too late to save them from extinction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_Museum %26_Biodiversity_Center_-_FMBC,_Bang.. accessed on 24/9/2010). According to the Red Book figure, about 54 freshwater species are critically or somewhat endangered in the country. Among them 14 species are listed as critically endangered; 27 as endangered and 14 s vulnerable (IUCN, 2000).


Fish production and its growth

During the 2008-09, Bangladesh produced a total of 2,701,370 metric tons of fish in which inland fisheries contributed 80.95% comprising 41.61% from inland capture fisheries and 39.34% from the inland culture fisheries. Marine fisheries contributed 19.05% (514,644 ton) to the total production (Table 2). Floodplain and Ponds and ditches are largest contributor among the inland capture and culture fisheries respectively. Fish production has been continuously trending upward for the last 25 years (Figure 1).


Table 2. Annual production and productivity by sector of fisheries, 2008-2009

Fisheries Sector

Water area

(Hectare)



Total catch

(metric ton)



% of total catch

Catch per unit area (Kg/ha)

A. Inland Fisheries













(i) Capture













1. River & Estuaries

853,863

138,160




162

2. Sundarban

177,700

18,462




104

3. Beel

114,161

79,200




694

4. Kaptai lake

68,800

8,590




125

5. Flood Plain

2,932,792

879,513




310

Capture Total

4,047,316

1,123,925

41.61




(ii) Culture













1. Ponds & Ditches

305,025

912,178




2991

2. Baor

5,488

5,038




918

3. Shrimp/prawn farm

217,877

145,585




668

Culture Total

528,390

1,062,801

39.34



















Inland Total

4,575,706

2,186,726

80.95



















B. Marine Fisheries













(i) Industrial Fisheries (Trawl)




35,429







(ii) Artisanal Fisheries




479,215







Marine Total




514,644

19.05



















COUNTRY TOTAL




2,701,370

100.00



















Source: DoF (2010)



Figure1. Fish production trend of Bangladesh Figure 2. Fish production from different sources


Inland capture fishery had been the main source of fish production in the country till 2000, after which inland culture fishery surpassed the former and becomes a dominant source. Marine fishery had also higher share than inland culture fishery till 1993-94 (Figure 2). Of the inland culture fishery, ponds and ditches had the largest share in total inland culture production, followed by shrimp farms (Figure 3).


Figure 3. Fish production from inland culture fishery



In terms of total fish production of fish in the country, major carps contribute the most (22.87%), followed by exotic carps (11.33%). Ilish, as a lone species, contributes about 11% of the total fish production in the country. Shrimp shared 9.07% of the total fish production. Of this share 78% came from inland fisheries while the rest 22% came from marine fishing. Inland fishery contributed 81% of total production while only 19% is provided by the marine sector (Table 3).
Table 3: Species/group-wise Production (metric ton) in Inland & Marine Fisheries, 2008-2009


Species

Inland Fisheries

Marine Fisheries

Total

% of total

Major Carp

(Rui, Catla, Mrigal and Kalbasu)

617,761




617,761

22.87

Other Carp (Ghania)

11,155




11,155

0.41

Exotic Carp (Silver carp, Common carp, Mirror carp, grass carp)

305,938




305,938

11.33

Cat Fish (Rita, Boal, Pangas, Silon, Aor, Bacha)

117,856




117,856

4.36

Snake Head (Shol, Gazar, Taki)

122,093




122,093

4.52

Live Fish (Koi, Singi, Magur)

77,113




77,113

2.85

Other Inland Fish (except those mentioned above)

646,085




646,085

23.92

Ilish/Ilish

95,970

202,951

298,921

11.07

Bombay Duck (Harpondon neherus)




58,263

58,263

2.16

Indian Salmon (Polydactylus inducus)




7,733

7,733

0.29

Pomfret (Rup_hail_Foli Chanda)




46,643

46,643

1.73

Jew Fish (Poa, lambu, Kaladatina etc)




38,414

38,414

1.42

Sea Cat Fish (Tachysurus spp.)




16,515

16,515

0.61

Sharks, Skates & Rays




3,933

3,933

0.15

Other Marine Fish




87,975

87,975

3.26

Shrimp/Prawn

192,755

52,217

244,972

9.07

TOTAL

2,186,726

514,644

2,701,370

100.00

80.95%

19.05%

100%




Source: DoF, (2010)

Production of shrimp/prawn from inland open waters had been higher than inland cultured prawn until 1994-95, falling thereafter throughout. This is mainly due to rapid expansion of gher farming of the brackish water and pond farming for the freshwater prawn. Shrimp production from inland open waters continued to be higher than inland closed water culture fishery till 1994-95, falling thereafter throughout (Figure 4)






Figure 4. Prawn/shrimp production over time by sources Figure 5 Hilsha harvest over time by sources



Ilish (Ilish) is anadromous in nature (an uncommon phenomenon in tropical waters), the hilsa lives in the sea for most of its life, but migrates up to 1,200 km inland through rivers in the Indian sub-continent for spawning. Ilish is mainly available in the major Bangladesh rivers of the Padma and Meghna. Those from the Padma are considered to be the best in taste. However, Ilish is also caught from the sea. But those caught from the sea are not considered to be as tasty as those caught from the river.

Ilish is the national fish of Bangladesh. During 2008-09, production of Ilish from freshwater (inland fisheries) and marine fisheries are 95,970 and 202,951 metric tons. Ilish shares 11% of all fish produced in the country. Ilish harvested from marine waters has been always higher than those harvested from inland open waters (Figure 5). In 2008-09, marine Ilish shared about 68% of the total Ilish harvest (Table 3).
Fish production growth in the eighties appears to be slower than those of the later years. Table 4 shows the exponential growth rates of the different fisheries. The overall fish production in Bangladesh grew at 5.61% rate per year during the 26-year period from 1983/84 – 2008/09. The highest growth rate is 10.37% achieved for shrimp farms. Inland culture fishery grew at 9.69% rate over the period. Inland capture fishery has grown at the lowest rate (3.78%) over the period. Production of rivers and estuaries grew negatively at a rate of 1.48%. Marine fishery on the other hand, shows a growth rate of 4.34% per year.
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