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Bangladesh Inland Fisheries

Improving fisheries through community based-management

MohammadRakibulHasanMarinePhotobank.JPGThe inland fisheries of Bangladesh could provide an important protein source for local communities, but poor management has led to large declines in local fish populations. The prior management strategy of issuing short-term leases is blamed for impairing the sustainability of Bangladesh’s fisheries and for increasing their vulnerability to political influence. A growing body of scientific evidence finds that cooperative fishery management by user groups can be an effective alternative to management by government regulators, especially in developing countries. A Bangladesh government project, Management of Aquatic Ecosystems through Community Husbandry (MACH), has sought to establish community-based fishery management program with the goal of instilling incentives for local fishers to better steward the resource.

Our role in this project is to identify factors that determine the success and influence of community-based management regimes. The research will be conducted by adding a section of questions to a World Bank survey of Bangladesh fisheries. These survey questions will help determine the cooperative governance strategies in which these fisheries engage, how these choices are influenced by environmental and social settings, and what effect selected management practices have on fishery performance.  This effort will complement our ongoing research on fisheries cooperatives. We are currently compiling and analyzing a database of fisheries cooperatives around the world, documenting the underlying economic, ecological and institutional factors that influence the management choices made by cooperatively managed fisheries.  Through our efforts in Bangladesh, we will help guide specific management reforms within the country, and link our results to a broader understanding of the role of cooperatives in fisheries management worldwide.

Photo: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan/Marine Photobank