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WB To Support $156m Fisheries Project

Education & academia

BANGLADESH - The World Bank (WB) is planning to support a six-year long Integrated Fisheries Livelihood Project, at an estimated cost of $156 million, with the aim of improving fisheries management and creating employment in the country.

The World Bank has been in discussion with the Bangladesh government on possible support for a new fisheries development project. The proposed ‘Integrated Fisheries Livelihood Project’ will aim at increasing incomes in the rural fishermen community and the availability of fish products for domestic consumption, by improving the productivity and quality of inland fishing and access to markets, a WB press release said.

The proposed project would improve the rural livelihoods of at least 1,000 fishing communities and 250,000 households.

Meanwhile, the World Bank and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock have already started discussions on the basic project design and implementation approach but further discussions are required to finalise the project.

The World Bank and the ministry reached a consensus on modifications in the draft project-concept note. It was agreed to concentrate on improving the performance of inland open water capture fisheries, especially through community-based organisations.

However, there is also a need to improve marine and coastal fisheries. The Department of Fisheries would implement the project, the press release added.

The fisheries sector, despite its relatively small size, contributes significantly to the country’s economy. The inland fishing improves nutrition, generates revenues through exports and creates employment.

Current per capita fish consumption in Bangladesh is an estimated 14 kilogramme/year against a recommended minimum requirement of 18 kilogramme /year. This suggests that fish production needs to be increased not only for economic development but also to ensure food security.

It was estimated that another one million hectares of inland water can be developed for productive fishing. About 1.8 million fish ponds are now in a degraded or abandoned state. Bringing this additional area into fish production would raise gross revenues from fishing by $2 billion annually.

Around 1.5 million new jobs will be created, mostly for the rural poor from the increased fish production. Furthermore, the increased production will create more upstream and downstream indirect jobs and enterprises.