Moshni is typical of many small villages in the vast coastal delta region of Bangladesh, where the population depends largely on agriculture and aquaculture for food, nutrition and income.
The people of this coastal region, and the aquatic agricultural systems their livelihoods depend on, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These include increased frequency of flooding due to sea-level rise, elevated salinity in agricultural areas, greater monsoon precipitation, and increased vulnerability to cyclone and storm surges, drought.
In November 2007, Cyclone Sidr devastated southern Bangladesh, taking more than 3000 lives and causing USD$2 billion in damage. “Sidr took our crops, fishpond and house, leaving us hopeless,” recalls Gita Roy of Jhalakathi District, who was one of thousands to lose both her home and her source of food and income.
In response to the disaster WorldFish led a USAID-funded project to restore the productive capacity of 46,500 fish, prawn and shrimp-farming households, and capture lessons on how to make disaster-prone coastal communities more resilient.
Bina Roy lives in rural Bangladesh. She is a wife, mother, a farmer and a fisher. Bina is also secretary to the committee that oversees fishing practices in her village. In 2002, she and her neighbors began implementing several new aquaculture practices to boost farmed fish production. The result: fish production increased by 20% and the improved practices have spread to 1,200 villages across Bangladesh's lowland floodplains, and are now yielding more than 1,200 tons of fish each year and generating nearly US$1 million in additional income.