Bangladesh is rich in aquatic resources with extensive seasonal and perennial water bodies throughout the country. In the past, the expansive floodplains, oxbow lakes, beels, and haors were home to a vast range of fish species. Of the 260 fishes found in the inland waters of Bangladesh, 150 grow to a small size (maximum length of about 25 cm), and these are found in the wetlands.
Rural households who fail to gain a voice in decisions over the management of shared forests, pasturelands, wetlands and fisheries face heightened risks to their livelihoods, particularly as competition increases between existing and new user groups. Exclusion from decision-making increases vulnerability of rural households, making it more difficult for them to move out of poverty and thwarting broader efforts to achieve sustainable resource management. Poor rural women in particular often face institutionalized barriers to effective participation in resource management.
Aquatic agricultural systems in developing countries face increasing competition from multiple stakeholders operating from local to national and regional scales over rights to access and use natural resources—land, water, wetlands, and fisheries—essential to rural livelihoods. A key implication is the need to strengthen governance to enable equitable decision-making amidst such competition, building capacities for resilience and transformations that reduce poverty.
Small indigenous fish species (SIS) are an important source of essential macro- and micronutrients that can play an important role in the elimination of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in the populations of many South and Southeast Asian countries. Of the 260 freshwater fish species in Bangladesh, more than 140 are classified as SIS and are an integral part of the rural Bangladeshi diet. As many SIS are eaten whole, with organs and bones, they contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, and iron and zinc. Some SIS, such as mola, are also rich in vitamin A.
A method of consensus building for management of wetlands and fisheries using a systematic approach to participatory planning and initially developed in Bangladesh is now being applied in both Bangladesh and the Mekong delta. The method recognizes diversity in livelihoods and works through a structured learning and planning process that focuses on common interests. It works with each category of stakeholder separately to prioritize the natural resource problems that their livelihoods are largely dependent on; they then share and agree common priorities in plenary.
Aquatic agricultural systems in developing countries face increasing competition from multiple stakeholders over rights to access and use natural resources, land, water, wetlands, and fisheries, essential to rural livelihoods. A key implication is the need to strengthen governance to enable equitable decision making amidst competition that spans sectors and scales, building capacities for resilience, and for transformations in institutions that perpetuate poverty.
Banchte Shekha is an NGO based in Jessore, south-west Bangladesh that has supported the development and empowerment of poor people, particularly women. In the CBFM-2 project they found it was possible to involve women in fisheries activities, despite initial opposition from conservative groups. Banchte Shekha was responsible for organizing 7 CBOs in CBFM-2 following their successful experiences with a single CBO in the first phase of the project.
Co-management of natural resources entails sharing authority and responsibility among government agencies, industry associations and community-based institutions. Policymakers and development agencies have embraced the approach because of the potential to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of management efforts focused on common-pool resources such as forests, pasturelands, wetlands and fisheries.
The wetlands of the Yellow River delta face a situation common in many developing countries where the quest for rapid economic growth brings development to the doorstep of natural ecosystems and threatens their health and survival. This brief examines the several issues relating to wetlands in the Dongying municipality. Can the wetlands in Dongying coexist with the modern development that is creeping towards them? Is there sufficient appreciation that these wetlands are worth caring for?
During the period of May to July 2002, An Giang University, in conjunction with the Chau Phu, Thoai Son and Chau Doc District People's Committees, and Can Tho University conducted Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) in four different Provinces. The research findings from this study are presented in this report. The purpose of this exercise was to better understand the livelihoods of people living in rural areas and depending mainly on inland capture fisheries.