USAID Enhanced Coastal Fisheries in Bangladesh (ECOFISH II) Quarterly Report December 1, 2019 - March 31, 2020

ECOFISH II has been supporting host-fishing communities in the USAID Zone of Resilience (ZOR), Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf areas, coastal fishing communities in the Meghna River Ecosystem (MRE) and the Nijhum Dwip MPA to improve the resilience of communities and adjacent ecosystems. This 1st quarterly progress report describes the accomplishments and achievements of ECOFISH II during January-March 2020 in all the ToOs. Activities in ZOR has been implementing with the key partnerships of Shushilan, Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST). In addition, Falcon International, International Organization for Migration (IOM) are working together with the project to develop market linkages and livelihood improvement. In the MRE, Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU) and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) are associated with the implementation. In the Nijhum Dwip MPA areas, IUCN has been working along with the project personnel. Under the first sub-IR1 (Improved science outputs for decision-making), project has started activities on ecosystem health management, coastal biodiversity conservation and monitoring of coastal fisheries dynamics. To achieving this sub-IR1, larval fish sampling has been conducted in the Teknaf-Ukhiya-Moheskhali areas with the assistance of CVASU to identify spawning season and assess biodiversity. CVASU also been providing technical assistance on seaweed and green mussel cultivation with fishers’ communities as an alternative income generative option. Preliminary survey was conducted in association with SUST to explore the possibility of MPA in the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf-St. Martin’s Island coasts. Important aquatic resource assessment and mapping in the artisanal waters of the Cox’s Bazar/Teknaf coasts have been continued by ECOFISH II ZOR team. The team has also monitored fish landing in the four important landing centers in the ZOR. Finally, monthly water samples have been collected from the lower Meghna River and the Nijhum Dwip area involving BSMRAU to assess the environmental dynamics & water quality parameters. Under the second Sub-IR1 (improved adaptive co-management and fisheries governance) in ZOR region, formation and strengthen co-management institutions, strengthen Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) and improve fisheries governance have been initiated. Particularly, community profiling and baseline setting in ZOR areas are in progress. In the first instant, 15 villages have been selected for baseline survey in association with the implementing partner NGO, Shushilan for co-management intervention and livelihood support focusing on the host fishing communities in ZOR. Under the IR2 (improve equity and resilience of food, nutrition and livelihood benefits), ECOFISH team along with Shushilan, initiated AIGA support activities to improve the livelihood resilience of coastal fishing communities in ZOR areas. Currently, in this region, major livelihood activities are groups savings in 14 SCGs (369 members), homestead gardening, poultry and goat rearing, fishers training as carpenter, seaweed farming, green mussel farming, crab fattening, small pelagic fish drying. The project trained 50 women fish dryers for capacity building in safe dry fish production. In the MRE region, monitoring of CSG activities established by ECOFISH-BD has been continued. The accumulated savings by 148 CSGs members raised to BDT 243k in this quarter. In ZOR 14 CSG members also saved about BDT 110k in this quarter. In the Nijhum Dwip area, IUCN continued the livelihood support activities along with resource management activities through marine spatial planning and SMART patrolling. Project produced some communication materials like Jatka conservation leaflets and posters, catfish juvenile conservation posters and many Facebook contents. The project developed draft Gender Strategy, Environmental Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (EMMP), MEL plan and submitted to USAID for feedback. All these documents will be finalized after incorporating feedbacks from USAID in the early next quarter.
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