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.
Commencing with a summary of the current status, importance and productivity of natural wetlands the contribution of wetland ecological functions to sustaining vital ecosystem services is then reviewed. Provisioning services, notably fish and water for irrigation or domestic and industrial purposes constitute important benefits derived by humanity from wetlands, whilst recognition is growing that supporting, regulating and cultural services supported by wetlands are critical for sustaining social-economic systems and ensuring human well-being.
This paper deals with a number of case studies that were undertaken during the last 8- 10 years in utilizing divergent ‘Tal’ wetland ecosystems (deep, semi-deep, temporary in a range of agro-ecological zones like NAZ, OAZ and Coastal Zone of the region) for the development of integrated management programmes using a range of approaches.
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.
Increased production of mola and other small fish can be achieved through stock enhancement and sustainable management of natural wetlands. Enhanced fish production can increase consumption and provide nutritional benefits, especially for women and young children, as they suffer from high rates of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies. Mola and other small fish, which are eaten whole, have high contents of vitamins and minerals. In recent years, there has been a reduction in fish production and biodiversity in wetland areas of Bangladesh.
This paper describes cluster-based management systems, formation processes, legal status, scope of works, and community responses to the approaches in five sites managed by CNRS under the Community based Fisheries Management (Phase 2) project (CBFM-2).
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?
Information on fisheries resources in Bangladesh and S.E. Asia is fragmented and has not taken account of poor people and their livelihoods. Research has been supply-led, resulting in limited uptake and gains for the non-poor. Often decisions are based on national level priorities, overlooking the needs of local people, especially the poor, and thus posing a severe threat to local livelihood assets including fisheries.
The Department for International Development (DFID) through the Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG) has approved the project proposal for the Project Memorandum on “Understanding Livelihoods Dependent on Inland Fisheries in Bangladesh and South East Asia” based on an earlier concept note on the same topic. The project characterizes the poor, identifies their dependence upon aquatic resources, describes the nature and status of those resources, and emphasizes the vulnerability of the poor to loss or mismanagement of these resources.