BANGLADESH: World Bank supports sustainable shrimp production

The World Bank has announced the approval of a US$28 million equivalent credit and a US$5 million Global Environment Facility 1grant for the Bangladesh Fourth Fisheries Project to increase environmentally-friendly and sustainable fish and shrimp production.

“The objective of the project is to support environmentally-friendly and sustainable fish and shrimp production for domestic consumption and exports and to help fight poverty in Bangladesh by improving the livelihoods of people who depend on fishing. At full operation, the project will account for about 22,000 metric tons in incremental fish production and an additional 2,500 metric tons of shrimp each year. The project will also provide about 440,000 additional jobs in the fishing industry, especially for the poor and women,” says project task leader Benson Ateng, a World Bank Senior Economist in the South Asia Rural Development Unit at the World Bank.

The fisheries industry is vital to Bangladesh. The sector accounts for about 10 percent of agricultural GDP, 3 percent of GDP, 8 percent of total export earnings, and a major source of the country’s protein intake. It employs almost 2 million full-time fishermen and 12 million people working part-time. A large and rapidly growing number of very poor people depend on fishing for nutrition and income. While the contribution of the sector to national food supply and GDP needs to be optimized in order to support economic growth and employment, it is essential to ensure that fisheries are managed effectively and the aquatic environment is protected at the same time says the Bank.

Problems facing open water inland fisheries will be addressed through different management measures with the direct involvement of beneficiaries and NGOs in the design, site selection, management, and monitoring of these interventions. The stocking of fingerlings of indigenous species in the floodplains is one such measure. To increase productivity and biodiversity, the project will also help reopen important canals and tributaries by which river fish breed and graze that are currently blocked due to siltation. Up to 10 pilot habitat restoration sub-projects to be implemented by communities and NGOs that will allow for more effective fish migration are included under the project. The project also includes fish passes to allow passage of fish through flood control, drainage, and irrigation projects which have blocked fish migration routes.

Total project costs are US$60.8 million to which the government of Bangladesh will contribute US$9.3 million, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) will contribute US$15.5 million, and the GEF will provide a US$5 million grant. A US$28 million equivalent interest-free IDA credit is provided on standard IDA terms with 40 years to maturity and 10 years grace. The beneficiaries will also contribute US$3 million to the project costs.

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