, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 153-180
Date: 30 Mar 2005

The mangrove-based coastal and nearshore fisheries of Bangladesh: ecology, exploitation and management

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Abstract

The mangrove forest of Bangladesh, the largest continuous mangrove forest of the world, is one of the most important coastal features of the country. The existence of the mangrove has increased the values of other coastal and marine resources such as the coastal and marine fisheries by increasing productivity and supporting a wide biological diversity. The artisanal fishery, which is highly influenced by mangroves, has been contributing 85–95% of the total coastal and marine catch of Bangladesh. The mangrove also supports offshore and deep sea fisheries by playing a significant role as nursery ground for many deep sea fishes and shrimps including the giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) which is the major species of the industrial bottom trawl fishery of Bangladesh. The mangrove also contributes significantly in shrimp farming which has been the most significant export-oriented industry since the 1970s. However, the mangrove fisheries have been under intensive pressure from deleterious fishing activities and deliberate aquaculture development by destructing mangrove habitats. The impacts of mangrove have been reflected in the contribution of artisanal fishery catch that has been in a continuous decline since the 1980s. Shrimp farming has been the most destructive contributor to mangrove destruction with a corresponding loss of biological resources particularly the wild shrimp fishery. This paper reviews different aspects of the mangrove fisheries of Bangladesh and discusses the impacts of different fisheries. The paper identifies the importance of reviewing, amending and/or replacing the traditional management approaches by the new management techniques such as habitat restoration and stock enhancement in the natural environment; the paper also identifies the need for research findings in formulating and implementing new management approaches.