Inland Capture Fisheries Sub-Strategy

Inland Capture Fisheries Sub-Strategy

Department of Fisheries Matshya Bhaban Ramna, Dhaka

Inland Capture Fisheries Sub-Strategy:



The management of the inland capture fisheries must balance a diverse set of demands on the resource. These demands come from various different policies that are conflicting in their objectives: There is also a balance to be made with other parts of the fisheries sector i.e. aquaculture and marine capture fisheries (both artisanal and commercial).

These may be better able to supply the demands for fish for the urban populace and meet the demands for economic growth and export earnings. This strategy is aimed at producing a guideline for the implementation of the inland capture fishery components of the National Fisheries Policy (1998) as applicable. Inland Capture Fisheries Sub-Strategy কাতল মাছ If the principle of managing the resource in a sustainable way for the benefit of genuine fishers and ensuring a livelihood for those that have traditionally relied on the resource can be accepted, then aspects of the strategy can be defined. These should promote access for the wider community reliant on fisheries, conservation of the resource to protect the biodiversity and nature of the resource and management for ecological sustainability.

The sub-strategy at the field level is based on establishing a national framework that supports local (Upazila level) decentralized implementation. It aims to enable user communities to make and implement resource management plans that achieve productive sustainable fisheries where poorer fishers derive the majority of benefits. In order to support this, the local government must be strengthened with the establishment of a fisheries management committee to complement the main development committee of the Upazila.

The strategy aims to ensure that a national plan is in place to establish sustainable management for all types of inland water bodies. A priority would be the establishment of a network of sanctuaries that will provide dry season refuges for broodstock that will naturally restock the flood plains and rivers. It also requires other technical management options such as habitat restoration, controls to the fishing effort and stocking.

This requires strong central advocacy and lobbying to ensure that these measures are declared and enforced. Similarly, the importance of dry season flows should be maintained through inter-governmental dialogue supported by advocacy from all stakeholders. It also requires that issues affecting fisheries are understood by policymakers and that these concerns are taken on board.

বঙ্গোপসাগর থেকে ধৃত এক নৌকা ইলিশ মাছ
বঙ্গোপসাগর থেকে ধৃত এক নৌকা ইলিশ মাছ

Government agencies must cooperate with other organizations, as appropriate, to encourage this and to monitor and assess achievements. Community organizations that have appropriate plans and demonstrate improved utilization in terms of sustainable and equitable management would then be granted long-term use rights to jalmohals.

Similar plans for non-Jal mahal floodplains that form significant local fisheries will also be encouraged and supported through the same mechanisms, where this shows improvements. Land-use changes that would adversely affect the rights of poor fishers should be vigorously opposed.

The timeframe for implementing the issues raised, by their nature, needs to be over a long period as community mobilization cannot be hurried and the constraints to service resources, both funding, and manpower, will also further extend the period required. In support of this, an action plan detailing priority actions will be prepared.

During the preparation of the sub-strategy extensive consultations have taken place. This has been headed by a core team comprising senior Department of Fisheries staff, field staff, NGOs, research bodies, universities, and technical assistants who have been supporting various projects in this field.

ইলিশ মাছ [ Tenualosa ilisha ]
ইলিশ মাছ [ Tenualosa ilisha ]

Lessons Leant from Previous Interventions

Over the last twenty years, there have been several interventions aimed at developing management systems for the inland capture fishery. These have included management policies, government edicts, and numerous donor projects. In view of the physical, biological, social and economic complexities of inland capture fishery resources, it is extremely difficult for any one management system to be conclusive and so a flexible approach is required based on local circumstances. From the various projects so far it can be concluded that:

  • The current system of leasing is a disincentive to sustainable management and benefits the wealthier who can raise the capital for the lease fee,
  • Open access for rivers and other flowing waters does not benefit the poor and through lack of management controls allows over fishing and capture of the fishery by strong non-fishermen groups,
  • There is insufficient coordination among sectors that manage the water resource,
  • The management of the resources by Community and Co-management Based Organisations has been shown to be effective, however greater attention needs to be given to institutional and community organisation issues rather than just the technical fisheries management options,
  • Stocking in smaller closed baors and beels has been successful in raising production and benefiting poor fishers when the fisher communities are organised, are given long term access rights and receive suitable support including credit from NGOs,
  • Stocking in large floodplains could increase production but was not sustained. Technical and environmental constraints were encountered, but the main problem was that communities did not have local user organisations that could manage the resource and finances in a sustainable way.
  • In beels and rivers habitat restoration, sanctuaries and local fishing restrictions have shown some success and brought general benefits to the communities, but the costs relative to benefits need to be assessed – low cost activities that are within the means of the fishers to continue, seem preferable.
  • Unless strong links between fisher/user organisations and local government, as well as DoF are established, local community based organisations do not have the strength to maintain management initiatives and resist pressures from outside elites.
  • Where major fishing restrictions were imposed alternative livelihoods are required to compensate for loss of income,
  • Current methods of managing inland capture fisheries has lead to a loss in biodiversity,
  • The quality of data on the resource generated from FRSS statistics is misleading and a new more robust catch assessment and resource monitoring system is needed.
  • If long term use rights for the fisher communities are not established, sustainable management cannot be adopted or continued.
  • The time frames for most interventions were too short to establish sustainable management systems.

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