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Production and consumption of fish were estimated for a one year period during 1995-96 using a sample of 5 117 households. The sample was taken from a study area covering 83 sample communes in 51 fishing districts belonging to eight freshwater fisheries provinces. About 39% of households in fishing dependent communities were actively involved in fishing. Of the total fishing households, 14% took part in commercial fishing using middle-scale fishing gear.
In Bangladesh, only 6% of the daily food intake is animal food of which fish accounts for 50%. Rice is the mainstay, making up 60% of the daily food intake. However, many nutrients such as vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, zinc and iodine are not found in rice and have to be obtained from other sources.
In the past, agricultural researchers tended to ignore the fisheries factor in global food and nutritional security. However, the role of fish is becoming critical as a result of changes in fisheries regimes, income distribution, demand and increasing international trade. Fish has become the fastest growing food commodity in international trade and this is raising concern for the supply of fish for poorer people.