Bangladesh dreams a sustainable development through conserving and sustainability use of its seas and marine resources. ‘Blue economy’ is a concept that can significantly contribute to the socioeconomic development of Bangladesh. It will to unveil a wide horizon for the economic growth of country.
The country is now enriched with a total of 1,18,813 square kilometers (sq km) of marine area.
Keeping the concept of ‘Blue Economy’, Sheikh Hasina led Awami League government has already formulated short, medium and long-term “Plan of Actions” with a view to conserving, controlled harnessing, managing and developing of fishes in the Bay of Bengal.
When ocean-based industries, such as shipping, fisheries, energy and minerals, seaports, tourism and marine biotechnology will be built up they would contribute as key driving forces for flourishing country’s economy.
The oceans and seas are the potential and versatile resource frontiers for the mankind which are still remained under-explored in most cases.
The extraction of the mineral resources at the bottom of the ocean, which is being termed as black gold, will lead the ‘Blue Economy’ to the forefront, sea experts said.
Experts believe that the Bay of Bengal has one of the largest energy reserves in the world. As a result, the sea region is important. There is unimaginable potential. Researchers around the world currently estimate 200 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves as the largest source of energy in South Asia. Researchers believe that not only gas but also huge mineral resources are in the Bay of Bengal.
In this regard, the Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin said that the government is working sincerely to protect the marine environment and biodiversity.
“The government has declared 1,738 sq km of the ‘Swatch of No Ground’ in the South Bay of Bengal as a Marine Protected Area. This has helped in the conservation and breeding of endangered marine dolphins, whales and sharks,” he said.
Minister Shahab Uddin said it while speaking at a webinar organised by Save Our Sea (a marine conservation organization) on Sunday.
Muhammad Anowarul Hoque, Secretary General of Save Our Sea and sea-based researcher, told the Bangladesh Post, “The economy of Bangladesh, the largest delta in the world, will definitely change if it is possible to lift the resources of sea-based surface, middle and bottom to enrich the Blue Economy.”
Recently, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a project worth Tk 61 crore to verify and procure the availability of valuable Tuna fish and native fishes from the deep sea. If everything goes well, the pilot project will start this year and be completed by December 2023.
The issue of maritime economy has come under discussion extensively. It has been said that the biggest challenge in today's world is global climate change, uncertain economic conditions and the constant competition for natural resources to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Researchers said that marine resources can play a vital role in the national and international economy to face these challenges.
According to sources, Bangladesh has immense potential in this regard. Because, the sea area of the country is 1 lakh 18 thousand 813 square kilometers. However, the area of the land is 1 lakh 47 thousand 570 square kilometers.
Bangladesh has a sovereign economic zone of 200 nautical miles in such a vast Territorial Sea area and sovereign rights over all kinds of animals and other resources at the bottom of the subcontinent up to 350 nautical miles from the Chittagong coast.
However, the resources of this vast region, including fisheries, aquatic and mineral resources, are still undiscovered and untapped. From the surface of the ocean to the bottom of the sea, the bottom of the bottom is a huge field of economic activity in three stages.