Over 400 million people in the Bay of Bengal area are dependent on coastal and marine resources for their food, livelihood and security. Rapid population growth, high dependence on resources and increased land use has resulted in over exploitation of fishstocks and habitat degradation, and has led to considerable uncertainty whether the ecosystem will be able to support the livelihoods of the coastal populations in the future.
Despite the large number of international, regional and sub-regional bodies and programmes operating in the Bay, none have a clear mandate, geographical scope and/or capacity to support a regional initiative that would effectively address the issues confronting the coastal communities of the BOB. Furthermore, the current existence of many ineffective policies, strategies and legal measures at the National level would likely impede the development of any regional arrangements. Other major constraints include weak institutional capacity at national levels, insufficient budgetary commitments, and lack of community stakeholder consultation and empowerment.
Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, have declared their willingness to work together through the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) Project and lay the foundations for a coordinated programme of action designed to improve the lives of the coastal populations through improved regional management of the Bay of Bengal environment and its fisheries.
Newsletter - Dec 2012