11th July, the World Population Day. This year’s (2008) slogan of this very day is “It’s a right, let’s make it real.” Current population of the world is about 6700 million which was only 5000 million in 20 years ago that is in 1987. According to this data, more than 80 million people are adding to the world’s population every year. United Nation says, this population will reach to a figure of 9200 million in 2050 but if current rate of growth of population exists until 2050, then the population will be 12,000 million.
Bangladesh is a small agriculture based country of the 3rd world. In a developing country like Bangladesh population problem became a catastrophic over the past several years. According to the past statistics, in 1650, the total population of this land was only 10 million which was increased to double (i.e. 20 million) in next 200 years. In year 1941 total population was 41.9 million. But due to rapid growth of country population this value reached to 89.9 million in next 40 years (i.e. in 1981). According to BBS (2007) current population of Bangladesh is 140.6 million and it will reach to 172 million in 2020.
Bangladesh population and Fisheries:
On this day, we call all be proud of the fact that Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in the reduction of fertility, but for a small country like Bangladesh this rate is still too much high. This fast growing population needs food, education, habitat, health, cloth etc. security to establish this country as a self-dependent one. But the present scenario is that people of Bangladesh is not getting those essentials and deprived from many fundamental rights and facilities. A considerable portion of country people are living below the subsistence level. Agricultural fields are decreasing day by day due to construction of many essentials in the fulfillment of the demand of rapidly grown population.
Though agricultural production is increased much in past several years due to introduction of high yield varieties of crops, but this amount is still not sufficient to meet the country demand. As a result, government has to import foods from foreign country along with many other importing goods.
Foods, the first and prime need for people for maintaining their health. Nutrients are essentials for bio life and protein appears as the most important of them so called building blocks of life and without it, animal life can’t survive long. But, what about people’s daily protein intake rate? To answer this question, we need to consider some issues. First consideration is the sources of protein. Major portion of protein comes from animal sources and a small amount is coming from plant sources. Among the animal protein sources, fish is still considered as the cheapest sources of animal protein. Though price some species of fish is much higher but there are many fishes in the markets whose price is in the limit of buying capability of general people of the country.
Bangladesh is furnished with diversified natural fisheries resources. Different types of water bodies both inland (4575706 hectare) and marine are present in this country. There are 260 native (Rahman, 1989) and at least 12 exotic species (Rahman, 2005) of fishes are now available in Bangladesh along with 475 marine fishes, 36 species of marine shrimp, 24 species of freshwater prawn and many other fisheries items like turtles, crabs etc.
Fish as human food:
Fish is a high quality food item. Fish muscle contains almost all the essential nutrients required for human health. Quantity wise, water is the major constituent of fish which varies between 60-90%. Also fish contains proteins (15-24%), lipids (0.2-65%), ash (0.4-2%), vitamins (both fat and water soluble), and considerable amount of carbohydrates, and non-protein nitrogenous compounds (free amino acids, nucleotides, peptides etc.). Fish is considered as one of the most delicious and an essential food over the world.
Fisheries production of Bangladesh:
There is a proverb “Mache Bhate Bengali” exists in Bangladesh. There was a time when natural water bodies of the country were full of fishes and other fisheries items. But situation has changed now and our open water loosing their resources and production from culturable water bodies increased to a great extent but still beyond the level of country requirement.
In year 1994-95, total fisheries production of Bangladesh was 1,172,868 metric tons including 908,218 metric tons from inland (317,073 metric tons culture and 591,145 metric tons capture) and 264,650 metric tons from marine sources. In year 2000-01 total production was 1,781,057 metric tons (inland capture 688,920 metric tons; inland culture 712,640 metric tons; and 379,497 metric tons from marine sources). In the year 2005-06, total production of fisheries was reached to 2328545 metric tons including 1848735 metric tons inland (capture 956686 metric tons and culture 892049 metric tons) and 479810 metric tons marine production.
Fisheries as a tool for population development:
Fisheries is playing an important role in the development of Bangladesh and through more better management this contribution can be increased much. Still fisheries sector contributing 4.92% to GDP and 23% of total agricultural production of Bangladesh. To know about the importance of fisheries in this development process, it should be considered from several points of view which are as follows-
- Sources of nutrition: In Bangladesh, 63% animal protein is obtained from fishes. As almost all the fish species found in the country are taken as food by the people of Bangladesh, fishes are supplying all other nutrients to the nation.
- Employment generation and development of industries: Huge employment opportunities have been developed based of fisheries in Bangladesh. There are 1,280,000 fishermen including 770,000 inland and 510,000 marine fishermen and also 3.08 million fish and shrimp farmers whose livelihood completely depends on fisheries. Moreover, huge number of people are involved with marketing and processing (industrial or non-industrial based processing) of fisheries items. Based on these resources, many fish and shrimp processing industries, hatcheries, research stations etc. have been developed in Bangladesh. Fisheries is studied in different universities and colleges from where students are becoming graduates every year.
- Foreign currency earning: By exporting fish, shrimp, crabs and some other fisheries items Bangladesh is earning a major portion (5.71% in 2003-04) of total export earning. In year 2004-05, total export earning value was 25717.2 million Taka. Shrimp occupied the 2nd place in the chart of most foreign currency earning exportable product next to garments.
Food security must be established in Bangladesh by scientific using of all types of resources. It doesn’t matter how big our problem is, we need to use our resources more efficiently in an eco-friendly way so that enough production can be obtained to meet up the country demand. Along with this family planning must be implemented in all level of population to control all the problems associated to overpopulation. Our people need to be conscious about the present and future impact of overgrown population. Though production of fisheries items increased much but still there are many water bodies and crops field where through proper management more fisheries can be produced.
- Balachandran, K.K., 2001. Post-harvest Technology of Fish and Fish Products, Daya Publishing House, Delhi-110035, pp. 2-18.
- The Daily Star, National daily newspaper of Bangladesh, Dhaka, July 11, 2008.
- Department of Fisheries, Annual Report 2005-2006, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka, p. 7.
- Jatia Matsha Pakkha 2005, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka.
- Rahman, A.K.A., 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 1-285.
- Rahman, A.K.A., 2005. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 2nd edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. xviii -263.
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