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Staff Correspondent
The government on Thursday signed a $240 million financing agreement with the World Bank to help improve management and production in marine and coastal fisheries and aquaculture.
The Sustainable and Marine Fisheries Project will help improve fisheries management systems, infrastructure, value chain investments, and encourage private sector investment to increase the availability and quality of sea fish. It will also support reforms in fisheries policies and regulations.
“In the last decade, the fisheries sector accounted for around 4 percent of the Bangladesh’s economy and is the country’s second largest export earning sector after garments,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
“World Bank financing will aim to expand coastal and marine fisheries with the goal of further increasing the fisheries sector’s contribution to the economy.”
In 16 coastal districts, the project will set up community co-management associations with fishing communities, enabling them to adopt supplementary and alternative livelihoods. While empowering fishing communities, especially women through skills development and nutrition awareness, the project will also establish 100 model fishing villages.
The current fisher identity card system will be expanded under the project and linked with the geographic information system platform. Vessel registration and licensing for fishing will also be improved. In addition, the project will help the government conduct stock surveys and assessments for shrimp and sea fish stocks and strengthen monitoring systems for industrial and artisanal fisheries.
“For Bangladesh, the fisheries sector is a major driver for growth. The marine and coastal fisheries have significant potential for sustainable and higher production,” said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division.
“The project will directly contribute to Bangladesh’s Blue Economy initiatives.”
The agreement was signed at the Economic Relations Division by Kazi Shofiqul Azam on behalf of the government and Zahid Hussain, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. The World Bank has since committed more than $29 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country. In recent years, Bangladesh has been among the largest recipients of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.