The World Bank, Resident Mission in Bangladesh, G.P.O. Box 97, Dhaka 1000
British High Commission, United Nations Road, Baridhara, Dhaka
C. R. Price
Fisheries Management Support, Djemila House 42, Road 28, Gulshan, Dhaka
62 Stonehill, Castle Donington, Derby DE74 2LY, U.K.
Inland open water capture fisheries have traditionally played an important role in the overall production in Bangladesh where fish provides up to 80% of the animal protein. There has been a gradual decline in the production of freshwater fish from these open water fisheries during the last three decades. Carp, which once contributed 30% of the catch, now only contributes 5–6%. Assemblage changes have occurred as a result of overfishing and the effects of unplanned flood control drainage and irrigation schemes (FCD/I). These have disrupted fish migration, reduced aquatic habitat both temporally and spatially, and have increased the vulnerability to capture. Mitigation and compensation measures have been implemented in Bangladesh to halt and reverse this loss of production. Floodplain stocking has been one of the approaches used. Two major projects over the past six years have shown that stocking with fast growing carp species appears to be both technically feasible and economically viable. The distribution of benefits is less clear. Performance on increasing incomes of fishermen, particularly of the poor fishermen, has been mixed. Initially, wealthier sections of the fishing community appear to have benefited most from these interventions though measures were taken to redress this situation. The distribution of benefits is a resource allocation issue and exists in both enhanced and non-enhanced fisheries but the increased value of an enhanced fishery may distort distribution. To provide a more equitable distribution of benefits, resource management changes recommended under the Third Fisheries Project (TFP) include: replacement of leasing arrangements with a gear licensing system; community involvement in managing the resource; payment of license fees in line with benefits received; and more involvement of NGOs to support disadvantaged groups. Sustainability concerns remain and suitable institutional arrangements are now being introduced, with the involvement of key stakeholders, aimed at gradually transferring responsibility for beel management to local fishing communities. A modified version of the New Fisheries Management Policy (NFMP) gear licensing system has been introduced through which beneficiaries can contribute to stocking costs. The introduction of major social changes must however, be seen as a long-term process requiring continued assistance from Government, donors and NGOs.
1 The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent those of the institutions they represent.
Inland capture fisheries resources in Bangladesh are amongst the richest in the world, recently published statistics (FAO, 1995) showing them second only to China. Fish is an important part of the diet for the population, providing some 80% of animal protein intake. It is particularly important in the rural areas as a relatively cheap and accessible form of nutritious food, and also provides a livelihood for professional fishermen, many of whom are landless and amongst the more disadvantaged sections of the community.
Open water fish production declined from 690,000 tonnes in 1972 to a low of 424,000 tonnes in 1989. One of the reasons for the decline has been overfishing caused by a large and increasing population. But other reasons are related to the loss of aquatic environment and fish migration routes caused by implementation of flood control measures, drainage and irrigation schemes and road building programmes which usually involve construction of embankments, closure or diversion of rivers and other structural changes with resulting negative effects on fisheries resources. A further cause of fish stock losses has been pollution of the open waters by industrial and agro-chemical effluents.
Action has been taken by Government to halt and reverse the decline in fish production using various methods to enhance fisheries resources including both compensatory and mitigation approaches. Compensation has involved the following programmes:
Oxbow Lakes Small Scale Fishermen Project (OLPs I and II) which supported stocking of larger fingerlings, and self-management of semi-closed water bodies by fishers' groups;
Second Aquaculture Development Project (SADP) where carp hatchlings were stocked in low dyked beel nurseries, reared to 5–10 cm size until the nurseries overflooded, releasing the fry into the floodplains;
Third Fisheries Project (TFP) where carp fingerlings with a size range of 7–15 cm were stocked into floodplains at the onset of the monsoon season, and fish harvested under open access fishing after three to four months.
Mitigation approaches to provide ways of restoring fish habitats and migration routes by establishing sanctuaries in the beel areas, excavating silted canals, installing fish passes, and improving the management of the water bodies by the local fishing communities have been implemented. Projects undertaken to promote such measures include:
This paper concentrates on the fingerling stocking (stock enhancement) approach to fisheries enhancement by introducing indigenous and exotic2 species of carp into the major floodplains of Bangladesh. The rationale behind this approach was based on the need to reverse the decline in fish production by exploiting the under-utilised nutrients available in the floodplains during the inundation period (June to November/December). In the 1950s major carps contributed about 30% of the total production but this had fallen to 5 to 6% by the late 1980s (Ali, 1997). Stocking of carp was therefore seen as a biologically and environmentally sound means to use vacant ecological niches.
2 Species composition varied from floodplain to floodplain. Generally, the species stocked were silver carp, (Hypophthalmichys molitrix), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), rui (Labeo rohita), catla (Catla catla), mrigal (Cirrihinus mrigala), kalibous (Labeo calbasu) and Thai sarputi (Puntius gonionotus).
The paper examines the results and issues raised during implementation of the Third Fisheries Project. It presents a brief description of the project and the magnitude of benefits realised, together with an assessment of its economic viability. The flow of benefits is then considered, followed by an assessment of benefits to fishers. Finally, the paper looks at the question of sustainability.
2. THE THIRD FISHERIES PROJECT (TFP)
The Third Fisheries Project (1991–1996) had three major components: a) Floodplain Stocking b) Coastal Shrimp Culture, and c) Small-scale Fisheries Enterprise Development. This paper is concerned with the first of these. The project was funded through a credit from the World Bank and Technical Assistance inputs from ODA and UNDP. Management of the project was the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries (DoF).
Under the floodplain stocking component, carp fingerlings (7–15 cm) were procured from local nurseries through tenders with contractors in the private sector. At the beginning of the monsoon season (June/July) the fingerlings were delivered, often over quite large distances, to the various floodplains included under the project. In the first year three major floodplains were stocked, BSKB in Khulna Division, Chanda in Dhaka Division and Halti in Rajshahi Division. The number of floodplains was gradually expanded until by the final year of the project some 23 water bodies were stocked (though some were discontinued because of lack of productivity). Release of fingerlings was usually inside the floodplain areas from specially constructed fixed and floating platforms.
Fishing commenced after a three-month closed season and intensive production monitoring surveys were undertaken by the DoF and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS). Results of the stock enhancement varied from floodplain to floodplain, and from year to year, but overall the programme was successful in its aim of increasing fish production at acceptable levels of economic return.
2.1 Magnitude of benefits
In technical and economic terms stocking was successful. Incremental production was around 20,000 tonnes of carp generating an ERR of 38%. Weight increase factors of up to 16x were recorded with an average of 8x, compared with a target of 10x. Table 1 gives further details.
There is potential for increasing productivity by concentrating on the more successful flood-plains, commencing stocking activities earlier, more finely-tuning the species mix, better control of poaching and establishing beel side nurseries. Expanding the area stocked can also increase production.
Table 1. Incremental production of carp under the Third Fisheries Project.
|Year||Area Stocked ha||Stocking Density kg/ha||Stocked Quantity kg||Production mt||Weight Increase|
3 These are projected figures
Note: A proportion (6–15%) of the fingerlings escaped, resulting in production outside the floodplain which is not included in the table.
2.2 Direction of benefits
The flow of benefits from stock enhancement is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Distribution of benefits from stock enhancement.
A key objective of TFP was “Increasing incomes, particularly of the poor, and fish production for domestic consumption” (World Bank, Staff Appraisal Report, 1990) and in terms of production this has been achieved. More fish has been consumed, not only by fishers' households but also by other people in the rural areas. In addition fish was marketed to some urban areas. The BCAS Post-Intervention Food Consumption Study (Quddus, Mallick, Ali, April 1995) noted in its key findings that:
Average daily household fish consumption increased significantly in Chanda and BSKB for both fishermen and non-fishermen households. The change in Halti was relatively low and Halti was eventually removed from the programme because of low productivity and social problems.
Average daily household fish consumption was higher among the fishermen households than non-fishermen households.
Average daily household fish consumption of 200 g or more was spread over a much longer period than it was in the pre-stocked period, i.e. people in the post-intervention period ate larger quantities of fish for a longer period of the year.
Another objective of TFP was to encourage private sector participation in stock enhancement programmes. Instead of being sourced from Government nurseries and hatcheries, contractors and nursery owners were invited to tender for supply of fingerlings to the project. A total of 2524 mt of fingerlings were purchased from contractors/nurseries during the project period with a value of Tk 240 million (MTA Project Completion Reports, November 1996). Substantial benefits therefore reached small and medium-sized nursery enterprises, increasing throughput and providing employment. TFP has had a significant effect in promoting fingerling production in the private sector.
Some of the increased production was consumed directly by fishermen households, but most was sold to fish traders in the rural areas, and in some cases to urban-based enterprises. Fish traders therefore received benefits in terms of increased trade and income.
2.3 Benefits to fishers
The main direct beneficiaries of the stock enhancement programme should be fishers of various categories, particularly the poor. Project design targeted both full-time professional fishers as well as part-time and subsistence fishers. Fish production is mainly carried out by the landless rural poor so increased availability of fish would normally benefit these groups. But there are also other beneficiaries of fishery resource enhancement, including leaseholders, kua4 owners and fishers owning particularly efficient (and often expensive) gears.
All fishers received benefits from the stock enhancement programme. The intensive production monitoring surveys were based on fishers' catches, including all categories of fishers. The BCAS Socio-Economic and Food Consumption (BCAS/TFP, 1995) studies indicate that overall benefits were received though the data were not sufficiently disaggregated to measure the relative benefits accuring to different groups. The Proshika BIMS Report (IDPAA, 1996) gives a clear indication that most fishers received benefits and were supportive of stock enhancement programmes. These views are also confirmed in reports submitted by the participating NGOs.
4 Depressions excavated by landowners to trap fish when the floodplain water recedes. These are generally pumped dry and all fish captured.
Initial experience in TFP, however, indicated that benefits were skewed in favour of the more wealthy sections of the community including the leaseholders, kua owners and fishers with efficient/expensive gears. Various measures were taken by project management to ensure benefits were more equitably distributed.
Jalmohals are Government owned areas of water located in the floodplain areas and are particularly productive fishing grounds. They are controlled by the Ministry of Land and are officially auctioned out to fishers' co-operatives, though in practice these organisations are often dominated by influential elites. Enhancement of the fisheries resource clearly benefits the leaseholder so Government agreed that control of the jalmohals would be transferred to the DoF and leases cancelled. A Gear Licensing System was introduced in place of leasing. A policy was adopted whereby a floodplain would not be stocked where leases remained in force.
The proportion of benefits captured by kua owners proved not to be as big a problem as initially thought. Table 2 illustrates the situation in BSKB, Chanda and Halti showing high percentages in 1992/93 but falling dramatically thereafter. Production in general was very low in 1992/93 because of a one-in-twenty-year drought and the lack of water caused the high catch of fish in kuas. Experience since has shown a much smaller percentage of the catch going to kuas, some beels having no kuas at all and others ranging from 5% to a maximum of 23%.
Table 2. Percentage of fish production from kuas.
|Beel||Year||Kua Production||Total Production|
|Stocked Species||Non-stocked Species||Stocked||Non-stocked|
Source: BCAS/TFP Third Annual Report November 1994
By definition a kua owner (usually) has land and therefore is not the poorest of the poor. It is difficult to prevent landowners digging kuas on their own land so a different approach was adopted. In the gear licensing system, the cost of a license is related to the benefits derived from stocking. The more fish a particular gear is likely to catch the higher the license fee. In this way kua owners are expected to pay for their extra benefits by an appropriate level of license fee. For example, if kuas take 20% of the catch, the kua owners pay 20% of the stocking costs.
The Proshika BIMS Study (IDPAA, 1997) notes that “There was a clear feeling amongst all categories of fishers that the owners of FADS (kuas and ghers) got most benefit”. But also that “People's perceptions are subjective and may be biased by prejudice or circumstances. For example, kuas are harvested on discrete occasions and the large catches are very noticeable, whereas the regular small catches of common gears tend to go unremarked. FAD owners undoubtedly benefit from stocking, but other BIMS findings suggest that the gain might not be as much as this perception suggests. It is important to realise this and to raise awareness about the relative catch levels in order to increase acceptance of equitable cost recovery schemes.”
Fishers with large efficient gears catch a higher proportion of fish and since these gears are expensive, and owned by the more affluent, this leads to inequitable distribution of benefits. Table 3 shows the relative proportions of catch going to different types of gear. Kuas have the highest proportion, though as noted above, this figure was much lower in the later stages of project implementation. The next two highest catches are for cast nets and gill nets which are relatively inexpensive gears, suggesting no disproportionate distribution of benefits.
Table 3. Percentage of catch of stocked species by different types of gear.
|Gear Type||Catch Quantity kg||% of Catch|
|Hook and Line||36,968||1.3|
Source: BCAS/TFP Third Annual Report 1994
Aggregated data for three beels (Halti, Chanda, BSKB) and three years (91/92, 92/93, 93/94)
However, it must be taken into account that there are far more cast and gill nets than seine, veshal and lift nets which are the next most productive gears. Benefits per fisher for cast and gill nets are therefore less. Again one answer to the problem is to charge a higher license fee for the more efficient gears.
Cancellation of leases does not in itself ensure access to the water body by landless fishers and other disadvantaged groups. Power structures and fishing patterns that have been in place for many years cannot be changed overnight. Indeed, increasing the value of the fisheries resource can lead to poor fishers being forced out of their usual fishing grounds by more influential groups in the community. This was shown in BSKB where support from an NGO, Prodipan, was necessary to ensure that poor fishermen gained access to the enhanced fisheries resource even after leases were cancelled. This experience was the basis for introduction of a further eighteen NGOs into the stock enhancement programme in the final year of TFP.
A number of reports have highlighted the problem of reduced income to professional fishers during the fingerling conservation (restricted fishing) period. This problem has not been solved and measures need to be taken in any future stock enhancement programmes to mitigate loss of income during this period by provision of credit or alternative income generating activities. Again, NGOs are expected to have a key role in this.
Problems of inequitable distribution of benefits of fishing, noted above, are not exclusive to stock enhancement situations. Kua owners, leaseholders, fishers with efficient gears and powerful elites are likely to catch more fish than poor fishers with inefficient gears. But stock enhancement can intensify the problems and so the measures noted above need to be pursued if the direction of benefit flows is to become more weighted towards the poor and disadvantaged sections of the community.
In summary, TFP experience has shown that stock enhancement can provide substantial benefits to consumers, private nursery owners and fish traders, and can increase employment opportunities. The main beneficiaries, however, are fisher's households though action needs to be taken to ensure that most of the benefits are not captured by leaseholders, FAD owners and fishers with efficient/expensive gears. It is also necessary to support some disadvantaged groups in the community who may be adversely affected.
3. SUSTAINABILITY OF STOCK ENHANCEMENT
Stock enhancement has been shown to be technically and economically viable in some floodplains of Bangladesh. This does not, however, suggest it is sustainable and mechanisms need to be found to allow for continuation of floodplain stocking. The high potential for increasing fish production and utilisation of one of the main resources of Bangladesh - the fertile floodplains - would suggest that stock enhancement should continue as part of Government plans to develop the fisheries sector. Sustainability considerations include financial viability, management capacity, suitable institutional arrangements and long-term environmental impacts.
3.1 Financial sustainability
Funding for purchase of fingerlings and hatchlings, incremental DoF costs, intervention of NGOs and technical assistance inputs, both local and expatriate, have largely been met from external sources. World Bank and Asian Development Bank have provided loans for enhancement programmes. The project (as opposed to the process) approach to development often means that when a project ends, so do the activities. This can have adverse effects on the fishing communities since availability of fish is severely curtailed and a loss of confidence in development programmes engendered. The proportion of stocked species in total fish production varied, from around 17% in Chanda to as high as 80% in others, but all represented significant contributions to nutritional needs.
Action was taken to try and ensure financial sustainability by introduction of a gear licensing system through which fishers were expected to contribute an increasing proportion of fingerling costs, moving from a 20% share to full financial responsibility over an eight-year period. Government was to provide the, gradually decreasing, balance. Final decisions have still to be made as to whether in fact Government is able to continue financing the programme after the end of the project and at what level. Neither have the beneficiaries made their expected contributions though in 1995 some 4% of costs were collected rising to 10–12% in 1996. A high proportion of fishers bought licenses and this represents significant progress, especially when compared with attempts to recover costs in other projects.
A number of reasons have been identified as to why fishers are reluctant to contribute more:
Suitable management systems for identifying participating fishers, calculation of license rates, collection of fees and issuing of licenses were not developed until the final year of the project. As participation of fishers was inadequate during the planning and initial implementation stages of the programme, fishers were largely unaware of the aims and benefits and thus were reluctant to pay the fees.
Since the floodplains still came under the control of the Department of Fisheries it was found that “half the study population were unwilling to contribute to stocking costs as a result of their lack of ownership” (Proshika BIMS Report).
DoF did not have sufficient manpower to collect license fees from a large number of fishers.
The gear licensing system addresses these issues but this is a long-term process and continued, though decreasing, financial contributions from Government are necessary for success.
Features of the Gear Licensing System
All categories of fishers and FAD owners are included and expected to contribute, rather than only full-time professionals as in previous systems. They are identified in a Fishermen's Master List.
The system is floodplain-wide and not restricted only to jalmohals. So fishing has to be paid for whatever the location, though license fees are higher within the jalmohals.
License fee rates are related to benefits received which in turn is related to the efficiency of the gear and location of fishing. The fishers themselves determine gear efficiencies.
Fishing is not allowed without a license, enforcement of regulations being mainly by peer group pressure.
Fee collection systems are transparent and supported by NGOs.
A gradual increase in share of stocking costs paid by beneficiaries is incorporated into the system.
3.2 Management sustainability
Stock enhancement programmes in Bangladesh have so far been managed almost entirely by Government, with only limited involvement of fishing communities except in harvesting of fish. The programmes have thus suffered from the constraints often seen in public interventions, in particular:
Stock enhancement programmes are resource intensive, particularly with regard to manpower requirements. This, and the lack of management capacity, was one of the main reasons that the TFP stocking programme fell short of expectations in terms of area stocked. Even with the restricted programme a high proportion of DoF staff time was taken up in stocking activities, not only in the stocking period itself but also in beel assessment and production monitoring.
During the final two years of TFP strenuous efforts were made to involve the fishing communities in the planning and implementation of the stock enhancement programmes. This process was accelerated by the intervention of nineteen NGOs in the final year of the project. Fishers were involved in decisions on species mix, stocking point location and other planning activities. With the support of NGOs fishers' representatives were heavily involved in the 1996 stocking activities ensuring its transparency and effectiveness. Fishers have also been involved in determination of gear efficiencies and compilation of fishers' lists as steps towards determining license fee rates.
Most important of all fishermen's representatives, along with other stakeholders in beel management activities (DoF and NGOs), were heavily involved in a series of some 18 field level workshops to participate in the preparation of a “Master Workplan for Sustainable Fingerling Stocking”.
The change from a public stock enhancement programme to a privatised community based joint programme has already started. But full transfer will take time and fishing communities will need continued support from both DoF and NGOs for some years before they are capable of taking full responsibility for stocking programmes and wider beel (floodplain) management activities.
3.3 Social sustainability
Underpinning all aspects of floodplain stocking activities are key social issues. Changing from a leasing to a licensing system can lead to conflict between established fishing groups and others who want to fish, as can introducing a community wide approach. Enhancement of the fisheries resource can result in stronger sections of the community forcing out the weak. Village factions are formed in an attempt to exclude other groups from participation in stocking activities and capture of benefits. Conflicts between agriculture and fisheries can arise, particularly in relation to control of sluice gates and water levels. Common property rights and the legal aspects of access to water bodies are other important issues. Field planning workshops fully recognised these problems and recommended various institutional arrangements to provide a forum for discussion and resolution. The basis of the institutional arrangements is shown in the box and in Figure 2.
Features of Institutional Arrangements
Primary fishers' groups are formed at village level and include representatives of all categories of fishers and FAD owners
In large floodplains, secondary fishers' groups are established, made up of representatives from the primary groups
Beel Management Co-ordination Committees (BMCCs) are established and include representatives from DoF and NGOs as well as fishers' representatives from the primary/secondary groups
As long as Government is the main paymaster for stock enhancement programmes, and retains control of the jalmohals, then it is also necessary to have official Thana and District Beel Committees to form a link between the BMCCs and the Administration (Thana and District are administrative framework based on area)
Figure 2. Institutional arrangements for floodplain management.
Fishermens Groups (Primary)
Workshop participants also stressed the need to transfer control of water bodies to local communities and until this was done it would be difficult to persuade fishers to be actively involved in beel management activities.
NGOs have made a start in forming primary fishers' groups and BMCCs have been established in all the beels under the TFP stock enhancement programme, though at present on an informal basis. The proposed institutional arrangements will of course not solve the many social problems and conflicts in themselves, but they will provide a mechanism by which they can be discussed, and resolved, without creating open conflict situations. Establishing effective institutional arrangements is a long-term goal and dependent on continued involvement of NGOs.
3.4 Environmental sustainability
TFP recognised the potential negative environmental effects and project design provided for intensive monitoring of production for both stocked and naturally occurring species. The Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) was a partner in project implementation, examining the issues of biodiversity, disease and gear selectivity. Little in the way of negative impacts were discerned though, since many of these matters are by nature long term, continued research and monitoring are required.
Impact on naturally occurring species. There have been suggestions that introducing carp into the floodplains simply reduces the quantities of naturally occurring species and so has a negative impact without substantially increasing the total quantity of fish available. This has not been the experience in TFP where production data show no discernible impact on non-stocked species except in some instances where stocking densities proved to be well above recommended levels. Indeed, there was an incremental increase of 13,000 tonnes of non-stocked species over the project period indicating a possible positive effect on production because of improved conservation measures taken in the TFP areas.
Impact on biodiversity. Research so far conducted by FRI does not indicate any loss of biodiversity and the stocking programme does not, in the short term, appear to be affecting the small indigenous fish species eaten whole by the poorer sections of the community and thus having extensive nutritional benefit. A recent Technical Brief by Integrated Food Assistance Development Project (IFADEP) on biodiversity lists factors causing reduction in biodiversity, but does not include stocking of carp species as a problem. A DANIDA funded Oxbow Lake Project has also undertaken research on this topic and also came to the conclusion that biodiversity was not affected. It is probable that stocking of carp is simply replacing the major carps that once represented 30% of total production in Bangladesh, a figure that has now dropped to 5–6%.
Nevertheless loss of biodiversity is known to be a problem in Bangladesh and, as noted above, research should continue. A more detailed understanding needs to be obtained of ecological balance and how stock enhancement programmes can be modified to prevent any significant effect on biodiversity and production of naturally occurring species in general.
Genetic problems. There is no evidence that stocked fish breed in the floodplains and survival has been estimated to be as low as 0.5% (MRAG, 1997). There is, however, a small amount of migration to rivers in which cross breeding between wild and stocked populations may occur. Clearly research and the use of genetic markers in order to investigate this is required. The consideration of stocking fingerlings reared only from locally caught broodstock should also be considered as some of the species may have discreet populations. Again, this is a subject worthy of future research.
Disease problems. There is a risk that the transfer of hatchlings and fingerlings to floodplains might introduce disease (particularly EUS) which could spread and affect naturally occurring species. Under TFP substantial resources were directed towards monitoring and prevention of this problem. Consultants worked with FRI in monitoring stocking activities and recommending control measures to prevent disease problems occurring. A Fingerling Inspection Programme was introduced whereby DoF officers visited nurseries supplying fingerlings to the programme to ensure appropriate practices were being followed to prevent disease. All deliveries to stocking platforms were closely inspected by technically qualified DoF staff and any batch found to be diseased was rejected. In the later years of the project, fishers' representatives were also involved in the inspection programme. There were no reports of any increased incidence of disease during the project period.
Such measures need to be applied rigorously so there may be a need for regulations to be carefully drafted and sufficient resources provided to ensure their proper implementation in future stock enhancement programmes.
Overfishing. One of the possible reasons for the decline in fish production is overfishing caused by a large and expanding population. The introduction of a gear licensing system in place of leasing could potentially aggravate this problem in that more fishers will have access to the fishing grounds. Indeed, this is one of the main “equity” objectives of the system and often the most sought after benefit of the new arrangements (IDPAA, 1996). The problem might be solved by community level decisions to restrict the number of licenses issued and to create sanctuaries to protect fish at key times in the year.
Fencing. In some floodplains the local community, with the help of DoF, constructed fences in the khals5 and other points where fingerlings were thought to be escaping. This was a logical decision on the part of the fishers since more of the benefits of stock enhancement would then be retained in the local area. As fishing communities are asked to pay an increasing proportion of fingerling costs this issue will become even more critical. Fishers are unwilling to pay for benefits received by other people. By prohibiting the migration of fish in this way the potential for genetic implications is considerably reduced.
However, fencing can interfere with the natural migration routes for wild fish thus reducing production of naturally occurring species for all fishers. The final decision on whether or not to fence a floodplain depends on the local community but there are obviously environmental considerations. Investigation of the genetic implications and management strategies for stocks is required. If the objective is the overall increased production of fish (with measures to monitor fish stocks) the Government may consider continuing to subsidise stock enhancement costs in those floodplains where escapement is significant and where fencing would have negative environmental effects.
4. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Stock enhancement should be continued and expanded as part of a wider programme of fisheries development, including establishment of fish sanctuaries, excavation of khals, introduction of fish passes and other mitigation measures. However, given that floodplains vary in their socio-economic and physical characteristics, the decision to adopt compensatory or mitigation or a combination of the two measures, should be done on a floodplain-by-floodplain basis.
Stakeholders should be involved in all stages of the stock enhancement programme to ensure overall sustainability of the programme. There should be a phased transfer of management and funding responsibilities for stock enhancement to the fishing communities, with NGO support. This may involve transfer of ownership of jalmohals to these communities.
There is a need to implement suitable arrangements to ensure the equitable distribution of benefits to fishers, particularly poor landless groups. These may include benefit-related gear licensing, cancellation of leases, extension and training services, credit facilities to targeted groups and continued support from NGOs.
Research and monitoring programmes should be continued to identify any negative environmental impacts which may develop over the longer term. Stock enhancement programmes may need to be modified in the light of the findings.
Ali, M.L. 1997. An assessment of the economic benefits from stocking seasonal floodplains in Bangladesh. Paper presented at International Expert Consultation on Inland Fishery Enhancements, FAO and ODA, 7–11 April 1997, Dhaka.
Ali Yousuf M., Gani Nasimul and Alam S. Sarder. 1994. Third Annual Report. Third Fisheries Project. BCAS, TFP.
FAO. 1995. Annual Yearbook.
IDPAA. 1996. Beneficiary Impact Monitoring Study of the fingerling protection programme of the Third Fisheries Project.
MRAG, 1997. Self Assessment Study.
Quddus A. H.G., Mallick D. L., Ali Ayub. 1995. Floodplain production monitiring programme: supplementary study component. Post-Intervention Food Consumption Study. Third Fisheries Project.
World Bank. 1990. Third Fisheries Report. Staff Appraisal Report, Bangladesh.