Category: Freshwater | Management

Fish Sanctuary: Management Tool and its Impacts on Fisheries of Bangladesh

Partial view of River Bangali

Partial view of River Bangali

Fish sanctuary means to establish and maintain a particular area in the water body as a permanent shelter for protection of fish for natural propagation. In another word, fish sanctuary is a demarcated protected area, where targeted fish will not be disturbed or captured. Establishment of aquatic sanctuary is one of the effective tools for conserving fish stock, preserving biodiversity and increasing fish production. In some cases restoration as well as conservation of habitat may be possible by establishing aquatic sanctuary. Fishes congregate in the sanctuaries for shelter, lead peaceful life without any disturbance and can move independently towards the feeding and breeding grounds. Impact of fish sanctuaries has been reported positive in almost all cases on fish production, biodiversity and socioeconomic condition of the fishing community. No adverse impact on environment has been found or reported by establishing a fish sanctuary. Moreover, as a part and form of fisheries management, sanctuaries are relatively easy for user communities to implement and enforce. So it can be called as a management tool.

Various projects to establish fish sanctuary in Bangladesh and its impacts on fisheries:
After analyzing the data related to sanctuaries it can be said that fish sanctuary is playing a key role for sustainability and enrichment of our fish biodiversity. Various fish sanctuaries, implemented by different governmental projects are mentioned below:

Name of Project Area of Water body (ha) No. of Sanctuary Sanctuary area (ha) No. of Beneficiary
Fourth Fisheries Project (FFP) 39040.04 75 1361.45 59712
CBFM-2 9359.05 164 85.19 14618
PBAEP 545.03 18 26.20 2118
IFAD 525.00 18 10.22 1477
Fisheries resources development project in closed and open Jalmohal under new Jalmohal policy 1434.46 15
MACH project 56 276.70
Hilsa sanctuary 0.00 4
Fish culture in Joboi Beel 4
Fisheries habitat restoration project in inland open waters 642.43 3 4.50
Fisheries development and management in chara and Beel in western part of the country 738.75 20 2335

Under these projects and programs the impacts of fish sanctuary in Bangladesh can be unfolded here below

Fourth Fisheries projects:
Under the fourth fisheries projects of Department of Fisheries from 2001 to 2003 there are about 53 fish sanctuaries have been established in 45 water bodies (rivers and beels) scattered all over the country. After analyzing the data collected from 27 fish sanctuaries out of 45 water bodies the fishermen of those relevant sanctuaries have reported that the production of fish from 27 water bodies have increased up to 239.4 kg/ha whereas the production was 120 kg/ha yearly before the project was started. Among 27 fish sanctuaries number of the fish species increased have increased up to 85%. In these sanctuaries 24 fish species is now abundant which was considered as locally extinct and0 in every water bodies the number of regenerated fish species is 1 to 7. Furthermore, 23 threatened fish species are now available in those fish sanctuaries that have been considered as rare as a whole income of the fishermen have increased in various rates. The fishermen reveled that the rights of the real fishermen have been established and as a result sustainable development of this project is achieved successfully.

Community based Fisheries Management (CBFM) Project:
With a view to increase fish production, conservation and increase the diversity and natural spawning of the fish population about 164 fish sanctuaries have been established in 120 water bodies (Jalmohals). This project was implemented from the year 1994.The growth rate of fish production was 81.42% in the year 2004 from 1997 and this was possible only due to sustainable management of those water bodies. Besides these, comparative analysis of these data revels that the number of fish species increased from the year 1997 up to 2001 in 14 water bodies is 31.24%.

MACH project:
This project is governed by Ministry of fisheries and livestock of the Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. The project started from 1998. Under this project, 75 fish sanctuaries have been established in 36 water bodies (Jalmohals). As a result of the implementation of this project fish production have been raised from 110 to 463% and on an average 233% and conservation of locally extinct 8 to 10 fish species is made possible.

NEMP (New Fisheries Management Policy):
This project started in 1999 governed by Department of Fisheries and completed in June 2005. Under this project 11 fish sanctuaries have been established in 11 Jalmohals. After analyzing the data from 2001 to 2004 revels that fish production in this water bodies have increased up to 17% to 50%.

A Signboard of a Fish Sanctuary

A Signboard of a Fish Sanctuary

At the last it can be said that, fish sanctuary is now an urgent need for protection of wild fish stock, sustainable development of fisheries resources and for conservation of fish species and genetic diversity. If instant measures do not taken to conserve the prevailing species of fish of our country, there is a great possibility of occurring disaster of environment as well as the socio-economic condition of our country. To increase the fish production in inland open water and in coastal area and for the conservation of biodiversity, it is inevitable to establish fish sanctuary in suitable place of different rivers, haors, baors, floodplain etc through the direct participation of particular community.


  • Ahmed, K.K.U., Ahmed, S.U., Hasan, K.R. and Mustafa, M.G. 2007. Option for formulating community based fish sanctuary and its management in beel ecosystem in Brahmanbaria. Bangladesh J. Fish. 30: pp. 1-10.
  • DoF. 2005. Fish Fortnight Compendium. Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Government of the People Republic of Bangladesh. pp. 81-85.
  • World Fish Center. 2005. Training on Open Water Fisheries Management. pp. 51-54.
  • BFRI, 2010. Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute. Web:

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MS Student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. Email:; More...

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