Discussants at the program pointed out that fishing vessels could now go maximum 60 kilometers into the sea and because of this fishing near the shore line was harming and disturbing the balance of sea fisheries
Bangladesh has a huge economic potential in the Bay of Bengal but failed to make the most of resources from the sea for lack of initiative and investment.
The observation came at a seminar titles “Blue economy: Future prospects of harnessing the opportunity for Bangladesh” at a hotel in the capital on Monday.
The Centre for Strategic and Development Studies (CSDS) organized it.
Discussants at the program pointed out that fishing vessels could now go maximum 60 kilometers into the sea and because of this fishing near the shore line was harming and disturbing the balance of sea fisheries.
On the other hand, they mentioned, valuable Tona fish in the deep sea remained out of reach while neighboring countries were fishing illegally in the sea areas of Bangladesh.
Kawser Ahmed, professor of the department of oceanography of the University of Dhaka said: “Tona fish live in 250-350 metres deep in the water and we have to go to 100-150 kilometres away from the shore to catch Tona."
Rear Admiral Md Khurshed Alam, secretary (maritime affairs unit) of the ministry of foreign affairs said: “We have 70,000 wooden fishing boats which can go up to 20-25 kilometres from the shore. We also have 240-250 steel body fishing trawlers which can go up to 40 kilometres and some can go to 60 kilometers maximum."
“Not a single fishing ship we have which can go into deep sea. We cannot catch Tona fish for lack of fishing facilities,” he said.
He urged private sector to invest in fishing ship.
Khurshed Alam presented the keynote in the seminar and said: “We can produce 15 lakh tons of salt but cannot export for being bellow standard. We do not even have technology to track a foreign ship into our sea areas. We took no initiative to collect minerals from the sand."
Major General (retd) Amsa Amin, chairman of CSDS, who moderated the seminar, said: “Estimated gross value added to our economy was 6.2 billion dollars in 2014-2015. Of it, tourism added 25%, transport 22%, marine capture fisheries and aquaculture 22%, oil and gas 19%, ship building and breaking 9% and mineral 3%."
Sea is producing 3.3 million tons of fish for Bangladesh which provides 56% of animal protein intakes. Sea fisheries and aquaculture is contributing 4.6% of national GDP and supporting the livelihood of 13 million people. It also contributes 5.1% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.