Ocean is not only a means for making money, but also it is a limited and vulnerable asset which requires careful management and stewardship to get the most out of it. Ocean selflessly offers its bounty to us but we in South Asia have not been able to exploit the abundance of treasure under ocean. As in Bangladesh, we do not even have adequate survey to learn and identify maritime resources and so the country has not been able to harness the full potential of its ocean resources. Hence, it is good news that a USD 240 million project is on its way to be incorporated from January 2019 aiming to harness the potential of Blue Economy. We hope once the project is successfully integrated, it will help the country efficiently manage and utilize the ocean resources under the blue economy policy through sharing knowledge and experience of different countries.
There is an abundance of resources under the blue ocean which can serve us for generations. It needs no emphasizing that Safe and environmentally sustainable extraction of sea resources will make a remarkable contribution to the wellbeing of our future generation and sustainable economic growth. Also successful extraction of ocean resources can help the country eradicate poverty, ensure food security and generate sustainable as well as inclusive employments. In this regard, Bangladesh needs to leverage conservation and utilisation of marine and coastal eco-systems in an efficient manner.
Bangladesh has successfully resolved delimitation of its maritime boundary. The country is now also financially and technically capable of exploiting its huge maritime resources. Thus the opening up of the Blue Economy has given the countrymen a new hope which was beyond our imagination even 10 years back.Therefore, going towards the blue economy is the demand of the time. The scope of blue economy covers an array of things like fishing, oil and gas, minerals, maritime trade and shipping etc. Reportedly, about 5 years ago, Blue Economic Cell decided to conduct multi-client seismic surveys to verify the probability of acquisition of oil and gas in the larger area of the Bay of Bengal, unfortunately yet its progress has been insignificant. In this regard, an immediate need for developing an integrated coastal management system in order to explore new offshore gas reserves emerges.
We must nurture what we have and in order to do that we need to learn and identify the amount of resources available in the sea. In this regard, intervention of new technology and support of adequate and quality research are pertinent. Also for harnessing the full potential of Blue Economy, intervention of private sector has become more of a necessity. It is envisaged that private sector can play a crucial role in improving country’s maritime research and surveys. We hope the government and departments concerned will look forward to involve private sector in government’s coastal development and management plan.