Bangladesh prides itself on being very rich in fish diversity. Its numeroud and diverse inland waterbodies and paddy fields are home to over 267 freshwater fish species. Biodiversity of fish species is important for nutrition and livelihoods of the rural poor in Bangladesh. There are promising fisheries technologies which have been developed and are being practised for improving fish biodiversity and nutrition.
It is highly unlikely that wild capture fisheries will be able to produce higher yields in future. For aquaculture the opposite is the case. No other food production sector has grown as fast over the past 20 years. Aquaculture is expected to satisfy the growing world population’s demand for fish – and at the same time protect ocean fish stocks. Hopes are pinned on farming as an alternative to over-fishing. But the use of copious amounts of feed derived from wild fish, the destruction of mangrove forests and the use of antibiotics have given fish farming a bad name.
The World Fish Center, in collaboration with the GOB and USAID, has been implementing the FtF Aquaculture Project since October 2011 with a view to meet the government and FtF goals to sustainably reduce poverty and hunger. The project is funded by the USAID FtF initiative and covers a 5-year intervention in aquaculture focused on 20 southern districts in of the country.
Improving the productivity of fisheries and aquaculture is vital to reducing hunger and poverty for millions of people in the developing world. Today, fish provides more than one billion poor people with most of their daily animal-source protein and, globally, more than 250 million people depend directly on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods; millions more are employed in fisheries and aquaculture value chains.
The WorldFish Center and FAO are implementing a regional programme entitled "Fisheries and HIV/AIDS in Africa; investing in sustainable solutions", funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In Zambia, the main project site is Kafue flats. The Department of Fisheries (DOF) and National AIDS Council (NAC) are the main stakeholders who will utilize the results of the research to influence policy.
There is an increasing ‘fish gap’ in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where fish supplies have failed to keep pace with the region’s growing demand. Despite the high dependence on fish for nutrition in much of the region, consumption is currently half the global average and declining. In SSA, as in many other regions globally, marine and inland capture fisheries resources are stagnating or decreasing, largely due to environmental or ecosystem changes and over-exploitation. Climate change is already altering the distribution of fish stocks and rainfall patterns upon which these fisheries depend.
Malnutrition levels in Bangladesh are amongst the highest in the world. Approximately half of Bangladesh’s population lives below the food poverty line and the dietary intake of both adults and children are severely deficient in key vitamins and minerals. It is now understood that women and children are the more food-insecure and micronutrient-deficient in the population.
The WorldFish Center and FAO are implementing a regional programme entitled "Fisheries and HIV/AIDS in Africa; investing in sustainable solutions", funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As part of this project, the Overseas Development Group/School of Development Studies was asked to produce a literature review on 'Fisheries and HIV/AIDS in Africa: evidence from social science, medical and policy research'.
In Bangladesh, only 6% of the daily food intake is animal food of which fish accounts for 50%. Rice is the mainstay, making up 60% of the daily food intake. However, many nutrients such as vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, zinc and iodine are not found in rice and have to be obtained from other sources. Small indigenous fish are a vital contribution to the diet of the rural poor in Bangladesh, where more than 30,000 children go blind every year from vitamin A deficiency and 70% of women and children are iron-deficient.