Enhanced Coastal Fisheries in Bangladesh II

Enhanced Coastal Fisheries in Bangladesh II (ECOFISH II) is a 5-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Jointly implemented by WorldFish and the Department of Fisheries (DOF), ECOFISH II is built upon the previous work of the original ECOFISH (2014–2019) project regarding hilsa shad production in the Meghna River ecosystem. ECOFISH II is reducing the impacts on the natural resources and fishing communities along the Teknaf–Cox’s Bazar peninsula from the influx of over a million Rohingya refugees. It is also reducing the impact of the Naf River fishing ban on host communities in Teknaf. ECOFISH II is scaling up lessons learned from the previous project while expanding interventions for improving the livelihoods of fishing communities and enhancing biodiversity conservation in the artisanal fisheries of the Bay of Bengal. The ongoing conservation activities in the lower Meghna sanctuaries and the improved management of the Nijhum Dwip Marine Protected Area (MPA) remain integral parts of the project.

Research Area: 

  • Resilient small-scale fisheries
  • Value chains and nutrition
  • Climate Change

Harnessing Machine Learning to Estimate Aquaculture Production and Value Chain Performance in Bangladesh

Digital technologies are undergoing a revolution. Artificial intelligence (machine learning), remote sensing, smartphones, mobile internet, social media, and open source data collection and video production software open up an array of new possibilities for cheaply collecting, analyzing and communicating information in new forms, to multiple audiences. Drawing together all these strands, this project will combine survey based research techniques with remote sensing, machine learning and video production, to generate knowledge products disseminated via digital media to reach and serve the diverse information needs of farmers, enterprises, researchers and government. The project is also intended to build organizational and individual capacity in Bangladesh for conducting rigorous research on socio-economic and spatial dimensions of aquaculture, and contribute to a more enabling environment for fostering sustainable aquaculture growth.

The project comprises three components:

  1. surveys
  2. remote sensing
  3. capacity building. 

Component 1 follows the "stacked survey method" developed by Michigan State University to survey a sample of 1,100 hatcheries, feed suppliers, farmers, and fish traders interviewed by Michigan State University researchers in 2013 in the Feed the Future Zone of Influence. Comparative analysis of 2020 and 2013 data enables identification of new and emerging technologies and practices. Additional in-depth interviews are used to gather detailed information on these practices and produce short videos featuring individuals talking and demonstrating their innovative behavior in their own words to provide easily relatable content to be disseminated widely through social media platforms.

Component 2 utilizes machine learning to extract and analyze data on fish ponds from satellite images. Combined with data collected under Component 1, this analysis facilitates development of an interactive, online data visualization tool that can be used to estimate aquaculture’s multidimensional contributions to the economy and nutrition, focusing on production, economic value added, and employment – all differentiated by gender and value chain segment. The publicly available web-based tool designed based on stakeholder consultations facilitates user interaction with and visualization of the data generated.

Component 3 is dedicated to formal training and outreach that builds individual, organizational, and societal capacity and includes 1) stakeholder consultations on features potential users wish to see incorporated into the interactive GIS interface; 2) a two-week data-analytics capacity-building retreat, to build host-country researcher capacity for quantitative survey data analysis, analytical thinking, and written and oral academic presentational skills; 3) dissemination of Bangla-language extension videos via social media; 4) a five-day remote-sensing capacity-building course for GIS users; and 5) workshops to promote new and emerging technologies to private sector actors and extension agents in each of the surveyed zones. 


Research Themes:

  • Sustainable aquaculture
  • Value chains and nutrition

The Aquaculture: Increasing income, diversifying diets and empowering women in Bangladesh and Nigeria

The Aquaculture: Increasing Income, diversifying diets and empowering women in Bangladesh and Nigeria project aims to enhance the incomes, diets and nutrition of smallholder families. The project embeds proven technologies in Bangladesh by harnessing public and private sector products and services to increase the productivity of smallholder aquaculture systems and conducts research in Nigeria on the role and potential of aquaculture to achieve national development goals and fill critical knowledge gaps. 

The project is particularly important from a nutrition-sensitive perspective, as increasing women’s empowerment through the production of fish, a highly nutritious animal-source food, is a key pathway through which the nutrition of women, as well as their family members, will improve.

WorldFish has a project running in the north-west of Bangladesh, in Rangpur and Rajshahi Divisions and in Nigeria using aquaculture to increase income, diversify diets and empower women. The project in Bangladesh builds on earlier work undertaken by WorldFish in different parts of the country. In includes engaging with local service providers and other private sector organizations in the value chain to introduce knowledge and technologies to impact on carp poly-culture. One of the project’s goals is to increase productivity and diversity of fish production systems, including the production of micronutrient-rich small local fish.

In Nigeria WorldFish is engaged in a project using aquaculture to increase income, diversify diets and empower women. In the first 18 months, a national scoping study is being completed to better understand the role of fish, in particular aquaculture, in Nigeria. Once this study is completed there will be more clarity on just how aquaculture can assist in improving smallholder incomes, increasing dietary diversity, improving nutrition and empowering women through engagement in the fish value chain. This work will lead to an improved understanding of fish supply and demand, market trends, value chains, aquaculture systems and the role of fish in diets and nutrition in Nigeria. Once this information is analyzed, it will help WorldFish, Government agencies, the private sector, and potential donors find appropriate entry points for future investment in aquaculture to achieve long-term goals and objectives.

The project partners closely with local and national governments, non-governmental organizations, local service providers, the private sector and development agencies.


Related Pulications:


Carp Genetic Improvement Programs

The Carp Genetic Improvement Program is the only program of its kind in the world concentrating on catla and silver carp as well as being the largest familybased selection program for rohu. The methods are similar to those used to develop faster growing chickens and livestock that have transformed their respective sectors. This brief highlights the methodology of the carp genetic programs.

National Fish Week Bangladesh 2019

The 27th “National Fish Week-2019 is being observed across Bangladesh 18-24 July 2019. This special week entirely dedicated to fish is an existing opportunity to raise awareness and encourage individuals and fish farming communities to practice sustainable fish farming, better-manage natural resources while helping prevent the extinction of various species of indigenous fish.

Assessment of existing and potential feed resources for improving aquaculture production in selected Asian and African countries

This report provides a comprehensive assessment of existing and potential feed resources for improving aquaculture productivity in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Egypt, Nigeria and Zambia. These countries depend heavily on imports for their supply of quality feed ingredients.

Capacitating Farmers and Fishers to Manage Climate Risks in South Asia (CaFFSA)

Climate variability has a profound influence on fisheries and agriculture in South Asia, including the service industry and value chains. Progress in weather and sub-seasonal/seasonal forecasting has significantly increased the information available. Yet gaps still exist in the delivery and impact of climate information services, including reliability, uncertainty, scaling and delivery.

Effect of dietary protein to energy ratio, stocking density and feeding level on performance of Nile tilapia in pond aquaculture

There is growing interest to understand the dietary P:E requirements for the supplemental feed used in tilapia pond culture where natural food contributes to production. In an on-farm trial, we tested the effect of lowering dietary P:E ratio on fish performance, pond nutrient utilization and economic benefit under two stocking densities and feeding levels.


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