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Stop Bay overfishing, save biodiversity

Experts underscore safety of aquatic life

Published : 09 Oct 2020 09:28 PM | Updated : 10 Oct 2020 12:35 AM

The maximum limit of fishing and strict guidelines for that are indispensable in our maritime area to cope with the climate change and protect the biodiversity.

Grave concern over the safety of underwater biodiversity has been expressed by experts time and again.

Overfishing is responsible for the depletion of aquatic life in the Bay, opine the experts.

Maritime experts emphasised, in the last few decades, the heap of garbage on the seashore has been soaring due to various reasons, including population, lack of the guidelines, and excessive fishing in the Bay.

Talking to Bangladesh Post, maritime researcher Nazrul Islam expressed concern regarding the challenge of underwater biodiversity.

One of the toughest thing, I must say in order to deal with the crisis and protect the biodiversity, the maximum limit of fishing areas in the Bay of Bengal needed to be determined quickly, he added.

He also said, rising levels of carbon dioxide in seawater are affecting marine biology and melting the hard cover of corals (Saint Martin) and other marine life.

Furthermore the expert mentioned that it is often found through research that overfishing is one of the main reasons for the decline in the number of aquatic life in the sea. When extra fish is caught, the gaps are no longer filled. This space becomes harmful to the environment at sea.

“We don’t have enough research to decide which fish should be netted in monsoon or what amount. Neither have we had any accurate data to rely on sea fishing. Fisherman often claim that they are not getting enough fish in the sea the main cause could be those fish groups may have left the area or extinct as a consequence of overfishing,” he added.

According to the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project (BOBLME) which seeks to create a regional initiative that effectively addresses the issues confronting the coastal communities of the Bay of Bengal, more than 400 million people in the region depend on coastal and marine resources for their food, livelihoods and security.

Moazzem Hossain, Chairman at Save the Nature of Bangladesh, referred to the absence of maritime policy saying, “An autonomous body for marine biodiversity is needed. Institutional education and rich modern technology equipment and physicians are also required in this regard,”

In order to save the marine biodiversity, environmental activists and the media should come forward and work collaboratively to bring a sustainable solution, he added.

On the other hand, he stressed that, Marine Biodiversity Conservation Policy should be formulated under the supervision of an autonomous body for the protection of marine biodiversity and the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2012 should be amended.

Environment and climate financing researcher of an NGO Jakir Hossain told Bangladesh Post that, to ensure sustainable maritime development, implementation of any projects related to biodiversity conservation, climate change, vulnerable people’s experienced knowledge should be taken into consideration.

Excessive fishing is the biggest cause of biodiversity loss. We need a healthy and productive marine area, and the key to getting such a sea is to stop overfishing, he added.

The Bay of Bengal has 475 different species of fish and 36 species of shrimps, In the 2017-18 fiscal year, 16 percent (650,000 tonnes) of Bangladesh's total fish production (4.3 million tonnes) came from the sea. The ministry of Fisheries And Livestock has undertaken $240 million 'sustainable coastal and marine fisheries project' with World Bank's assistance for the development of the coastal and marine fisheries resources.