The contributors to 3rd Marine Conservation and Blue Economy Symposium said that, in the wake of the rapid economic development and resource extraction in the Bay of Bengal, more investment is required on marine ecosystem and wildlife protection to ensure sustainability. Specific attentions are needed to research needs for conservation of sharks and sea turtles, and sustainable future of marine fisheries in the Bay of Bengal region.
With the theme of ‘Investing in Marine Conservation: Making Sense of Blue Economy’ the symposium was organized by Save Our Sea in collaboration with the Faculty of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative and ARASMIN (India) on June 7, 2017 Wednesday at the Seminar Room, Faculty of Agriculture, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka from 11 AM to 3.30 PM. The symposium was moderated by IUCN Bangladesh Programme Coordinator Dr. Haseeb Md Irfanullah.
The symposium is annually arranged as part of World Oceans Day celebration.
Outcomes from different Participatory Action Research initiatives done by volunteer researchers in last one year as well as insights from practitioners in the area of fisheries management, marine conservation, and coastal community wellbeing was shared in the symposium.
The impact on sea turtle habitats in Cox’s Bazar sea beach due to the construction of the marine drive was shared by researchers of Save Our Sea, Farah Yasmin, Riasad Bin Mahabub and Upama Aich, bringing attention to the need for environmentally responsible tourism infrastructure planning.
The presentation was followed by Mohammad Arju’s presentation of a model of self-funded and community-led in-situ conservation of sea turtles, being implemented by the community volunteers of Saint Martin’s Island.
Dr. Kazi Ahsan Habib presented his research outcomes on the genetics of the mud crabs of Sundarban to show the utility of genetic research for fisheries management. He is the Chairman of Fisheries Biodiversity and Genetics Department of Sher-E-Bangla Agricultural University.
The presentation was complemented by a presentation by Water Governance Coordinator of Oxfam in Bangladesh Mr. Enamul Mazid Khan Siddique, focusing on affordable technologies, participatory management, and eco-labeled marketing to provide the artisanal fishers their long deserved rights and benefits of marine fisheries.
Mr. Mahatub Khan Badhon, Lecturer of Zoology, University of Dhaka, also a Program Associate at Save Our Sea shared a summary of his findings from a study on the perspective of policy implementers in fisheries and forestry sectors. The current and former officials suggested enhancing the institutional capacity of the fisheries to conserve marine biodiversity and complete protection of sharks and rays in protected areas, including in Sundarban and Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area.
The panel discussants including the Vice Chancellor of Sher-E-Bangla University Professor Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed and Principle Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute Dr. Enamul Hoque and others emphasized on re-orient the research investment and infrastructure on ecosystem protection and sustainable economic benefits. They also called for finding best leverages and forging the partnership among related organizations to increase the Participatory Action Research capacity of conservation sector.