Five and a half years ago, about one and a half lakh square kilometers of sea tertory was conquered, but due to the lack of necessary legal framework and sound economic planning, marine resources are not being extracted properly. .
Ambassadors of different countries and representatives of development partners met with officials of the Blue Economy Cell at various times to discuss cooperation in the Blue Economy of Bangladesh, but the cell could not tap the potentials as it is temporary in nature and the cell has no legal authority, said Former Additional Secretary Golam Shafiuddin NDC .
“The Blue Economy Cell has no legal authority to coordinate with other ministries / agencies and the decisions taken by the Blue Economy Cell are often ignored. Moreover, as there is no financial allocation in favor of the Blue Economy Cell, no training is being provided to increase the capacity of the officials of the Blue Economy Cell.,” he added.
The Cell in a latest presentation to Prime Minister office has said that various domestic and international training institutes have expressed interest in training Blue Economy Cell officials. In order to avoid all these obstacles, it is necessary to have a statutory body to carry out activities related to Blue Economy. If the Blue Economy Authority is established under the appropriate law, it will be possible to make the necessary adjustments in this regard, it said.
In the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Power, Fuel and Mineral Resources of the 10th National Assembly, it has been recommended to form the Blue Economy Authority. In this light, a law called “Blue Economy Authority Act” is being drafted from the Blue Economy Cell.
The blue economy offers opportunities in fishery, mineral resources, shipping and energy, Bangladesh has the right to fish and explore resources within 118,813 square kilometres of the Bay of Bengal.
At present, mechanised boats and industrial trawlers can catch fish up to 70 kilometres from the shoreline out of the total of 660 kilometres available. The rest of the area remains untapped, he said, adding that steps have been taken to explore deep sea fishing, particularly of tuna.
Apart from trawling, there is also scope for marine aquaculture, which is done in several countries, including China. “Marine aquaculture is growing,” said Alam, also a retired high-ranking navy official.
The blue economy is one of the priority sectors of the government and it has taken a $240 million project with financing from the World Bank for sustainable development of coastal and marine fisheries.
As many as 1.7 crore people are employed in fisheries and agriculture and many depend on the sea for income, food security and nutrition, said Robert D Simpson, FAO representative in Bangladesh. “The blue economy could have a significant positive impact on Bangladesh,” he added.