Over the periods, various policies have been developed and learned their effect on fisheries development in the country. Their implementation has not resulted in the desirable and expected results. Development policies are focuses mainly towards expansion, production and technology based approaches. Most of the policies missed to address the needs of small scale fisheries. Existence of multiple goals in a single policy registered negative effects and makes the policy complicated for management of the resources.
Promoted policies should formulated more comprehensively with cohesive strategies focusing
(i) Multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach integrating diverse livelihood strategy based on different activities and resources,
(ii) Changing attitude to include all stakeholders in the management process into community based and co-management approach,
(iii) Recognition of small scale fisheries as major sharers to the production and role in social safety-net.
However, the policies had major impact on fishers are:
- The Twenty Years Perspective Plan (1990-2010): on economic growth, increase self reliance, employment generation, poverty alleviation.
- The National Environment Plan (1995): focuses on sustainable use of all natural resource.
- New Agricultural Extension Policy (1996): emphasizes increased agricultural production through balanced use of water and land resources embracing aquaculture production as a part of this process.
- New Fisheries Management Policy (1986): focuses to divert benefit to genuine fishers through harvesting and to adopt conservation measure ensuring sustainability of resources.
- The National Water Management Plan (1998): focuses on the equitable and participatory management of water resources, fisheries and wildlife.
- The Land Use Policy (2001): emphasizes the need to harmonize national fisheries policy in order to avoid conflict and simultaneously increase agricultural and fisheries production.
- Fish feed and Livestock feed Ordinance (2008): emphasizes to prepare quality, nutritious and adulteration free feed for fisheries and livestock promotion with provision of holding license compulsorily for manufacturers, processors, importers, exporters, marketing, sale and distributors.
- Fish Hatchery Ordinance (2009): is a recently promulgated ordinance of long desire of the professionals for promoting of the sector. The urgency is to protect the genetically erosion of fish species and ensure the quality fish seeds to the nurseries and table fish grower necessitated the formulation of ordinance. Principles of hatchery standard, breeder fish rearing, maintaining seed quality and certification, hatchery certification, etc., emphasizes in the ordinance.
Some other policies have the lesser implication in practice but relevance to the fisheries sub sector. They are; Livestock Development policy (199), National Forestry policy (1992), National Tourism Policy (1992), National Shipping Policy (2000).
The government has also signed up to various conventions such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Millennium Development Goals, The Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 (1992), The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and The Ramsar Convention (1971). It is also partners in various international organizations that have been established to help manage the fisheries resource especially with an international perspective such as the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Programme. These when implemented, as intended, will also exert controls on how the resource should be managed and set targets of what should be achieved over the next ten years.
The production of fish is estimated 2.56 m mt. in 2007-2008. Fish production is specified with respect to origin- capture fisheries (41.36%), culture fisheries (39.23%) marine fisheries (19.41%). Annual fish production expanded and exhibit slow rise in the last ten years (1998-99 to 2007- 08) averaging 5.77%. Capture fisheries is the major contributor on total production averaging 2-3% growth increase per year. During consultation with the concerned officials opined their disagreement on production increase from capture sources. The reasons given are: losses of floodplain habitats, connectivity losses of floodplain habitat with the flowing pathways, withdrawal of dry season river flows, rapid increasing of human pressure, industrial and urbanization; pollution, etc.
The rapid changes occurred with the sector over the past two decades. In spite of decline in habitat and shrinkage in areas the sector continues to play major role to the agricultural economy, source of nutrition, income and employment of large proportion of rural and urban population. However, significant increase of culture fisheries drawn attention of all concerned with 40% increment of pond fisheries. Shrimp fisheries, as culture source contributing significant growth each year with modest increase of 4-6%.
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