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Muhammad Muzaffar Hussain
Chairman, BFDC


Bangladesh was once a fish surplus country about half a century back when the population was less than 20 m. But with the rapid population growth fishing efforts increased greatly while culture and conservation were very insufficient to keep pace with population explosion.

In the meantime due to high demand in the world market for shrimps, prawns and other crustaceans, Bangladesh stepped into a new era of sophisticated industrial processing development. The evolution of the shrimp processing industry in Bangladesh dates back to 1959 when the first fish and shrimp processing and freezing plant was installed in Chittagong by 1971, there were nine such processing plants in the country with a total production capacity of 58.5 MT per day. All these plants were mostly engaged in processing and exporting of fresh water headless shell on shrimps to Europe and U.S.A. During the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971, there was a short pause in the development of the sector. From 1977 onwards the trend of development of the industry started regaining its momentum and by the end of 1992, there were ninety seven processing plants in the country with a daily freezing capacity of about 680 tons. All these plants were primarily designed for processing of shrimps and froglegs. The processing of fin-fishes were not taken into consideration at the beginning in view of the national requirements. But due to the rapid development of the industry, raw material constraints in shrimp and froglegs were felt very much, thus forcing many of the plants to diversify products in favour of fin-fishes also.

A new technology for the production of salted and dehydrated fish specially for sea-water jew fish was also introduced in collaboration with Hongkong and Singapore buyers which helped the country earn a good amount of foreign exchange.

The developments in the fish and shrimp processing sector helped the country's export to boost up from a meagre US$ 3.06 m in 1972-73 to 131 m in 1992-93 an increase of 4281% in 20 years. Export of shrimps and fishery products stands next to garments, jute and jute goods and leather. It contributed to 6.50% of the total export earnings of US$ 1994.00 m in 1991-92.

Inspite of all these developments the export-oriented sea foods processing industry of Bangladesh has been passing through a severe crisis due to acute shortage of raw materials. The industry has grown at a much faster rate than that of the growth of the raw material procurement.

To overcome this situation, topmost importance and priority have been given for the development of fisheries resources specially of the aquaculture resources of fish, shrimps and other crustaceans for which Bangladesh has a great potential.

2. Present Status

Present status in respect to the growth of the Fish and Shrimp Processing Industry vis-a-vis the availability of raw materials which are the living aquatic resources such as freshwater fish, marine fish, frogs, prawns, shrimps and other crustaceans, deserves a brief explanation in this context.

2.1 Fishery Resources

The Bangladesh Fisheries can broadly be divided into (i) Inland or Freshwater Fisheries and (ii) Marine Fisheries.

2.1.1 Inland Fisheries

The inland fisheries of Bangladesh are considered to be extremely formidable in terms of natural water areas and its potential for shrimp and fish culture. Inland fisheries contributed to 74.90% of the total fish catch of the country in 1992-93 and can be defined into the following categories. Open Inland Water Fisheries

It includes innumerable rivers and their tributaries, baors, haors and the estuaries. The main river systems in Bangladesh include the Meghna, the Padma, the Jamuna, the Brahmaputra and the Karnaphuli and their tributaries-the total water area of which is over, 1.03 million ha. There are many ox-bow lakes locally called ‘Baors’ formed due to silting up of old rivers in the districts of Jessore, Jenaidah, Court Chandpur, Kustia and Faridpur with a total water area of about 5,488 ha. The natural depressions of land are used partially as agricultural lands in dry seasons and seasonally or perennially filled with water from adjacent rivers during rainy season. Most of these haors are located in the greater Sylhet, Mymensingh and Faridpur districts. Some of the haors are very big. Hakaluki haor and Tangua haor in the greater Sylhet district have water areas of about 36,437 and 25,506 ha. respectively. The total water areas of the haors in Bangladesh are about 1,14,161 ha. The Kaptai Lake one of the largest man-made lakes, consists of 68,800 ha. Besides there are about 2.83 million ha. of seasonal floodplain areas. The total open water areas of the country is about 4.05 m ha. from which a total of 533,000 MT of fish was caught in 1992-93. This is a very low production which may be increased substantially with proper policy planning, serious efforts and implementation of strict conservation and management methods. Closed Water Fisheries

It includes large-sized ponds called dighis, ponds and tanks. In most of the areas of the country, almost every homestead has one or more ponds or tanks used for bathing and cleaning as well as for fish culture. There are about 1.29 million ponds covering over 1,46,890 ha. of water areas of which about 76,632 ha are under fish culture, 48,814 ha culturable and 25,450 ha. of derelict ponds. Of the total water areas of the ponds 52.17% are now under fish culture, 30.51% easily culturable but now idle and 17.32% are derelict which can be turned into good fish ponds after proper renovation them. Out of the total number of 1.29 million ponds about 46.48% are under culture, 29.90% culturable and rest 23.62% are derelict ponds. The estimated fish production of all these ponds were only 16,6100 MT in 1986-87 and 24,2572 MT in 1992-93. Even freshwater Shrimp (M. Rosenbergii) can be cultured extensively to meet the demand of the processing industry. Total production of fish from freshwater fisheries were 607645 MT in 1988-89 which increased to 775472 MT in 1992-93. This may be doubled or tripled with concerted efforts of the public and private sectors.

2.1.2 Marine Fisheries

Bangladesh has a coastline of 480 km along the North and North-East part of the Bay of Bengal. It has an internal estuarine water area of 7,325 sq. nautical miles upto 10 fathom depth baseline, territorial waters of 2,640 sq. nautical miles from the baseline, EEZ of 41,040 sq. nautical miles and the continental shelf of 2,480 sq. nautical miles. The total of marine water areas is about 48,365 sq. na. miles which is almost as big as the country itself. All these water areas have great potential for seawater fishes and shrimps. The coastal area has a great potential for seawater black tiger, white and brown shrimps. Based on different surveys and research works in the Bay of Bengal, it is estimated that the standing stock of fish is around 2,64,000 to 3,73,000 MT and that of shrimps around 9,000 MT. The marine catch increased from 95,000 MT in 1975–76 to 250480 MT in 1992-93 an increase of about 265%. This has been possible due to Government's encouragement for the introduction of a deep sea fleet of 70 trawlers (out of which 56 are in operation now) and over 6,000 mechanized boats in the Bay of Bengal. Yet, there remains much unexplored areas for development of off-shore pelagic fishing.

Bangladesh water-bodies were surveyed by the Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organisation (SPARSO) by using aerial photographs and satellite imagery under the Fisheries Resource Survey System Project of DOF and FAO/UNDP DURING 1981–85. The water area statistics together with respective catches of fish (1983–84 to 1992–93) are shown in Table-1 & 2 (Annex-i & ii) respectively. The trend of year wise development in production of fish in Inland and Marine Waters in Bangladesh is shown in Table-3 (Annex-III).

2.1.3 The Shrimp Fisheries

In the coastal areas of Satkhira and Khulna districts. People used to make dikes or embankments along the banks of estuarine rivers and allow sea waters carrying shrimp fry or juveniles to enter into it wherein shrimps used to grow under natural conditions without any supplementary feed. As a result production output had always been very poor. Shrimp production in the area rotates with paddy cultivation in a systematic manner. During pre-liberation period (1971) there were only 2500 ha. of land under cultivation in the Khulna/Satkhira Region with a production of 20–50 kgs per ha. The Government of Bangladesh have taken up many schemes for the modernization of the shrimp culture in the country from the mid 1980's as. The land under coastal shrimp culture increased from 51,812 ha in 1983–84 to 108280 ha in 1988–89 which remained almost static till 1992–93. Production of shrimp during the same period also increased from 8386 MT in 1983–84 to 18,325 MT in 1988–89 and to 26000 MT in 1992–93. Average production/ha was 85 kg 160 kg and 240 kg respectively during the same period. According to the Fisheries Survey of 1983–84 and subsequent surveys, the number of shrimp farms and areas in hatcheries under shrimp culture, production/ha, annual production are shown in Table 4 (Annex-iii).

From the data at Table 4, it appears that the average size of ponds is very big and not upto the international standard. Such ponds offer bad management. per ha. production is also too low as compared to may Asian countries. Farmers are operating their farms on extensive culture methods and do not or very little apply artificial feed and modern methods of shrimp culture. Modern shrimp culture methods are being practiced by a handful of industrial farmers who have been able to produce upto 3000 kg/ha. annually. Govt of Bangladesh is stepping up measures to increase per ha. production of shrimp to 1000 kg, in which case the total culture based production of sea water shrimps may exceed 100000 MT within a few years.

With the introduction of coastal shrimp culture and deep sea fishing trawlers in the country shrimp catches has been steadily increasing during the last years. In 1983–84 the total shrimp production was 57656 MT which increased to 70,872 MT in 1986-87 and 99,458 MT in 1992–93. The trend of development of shrimp catches (live weight) is given in Table 5. (Annex-iv).

Out of trawler catch of shrimps in 1987–88, species-wise composition was 17.00% of Black Tiger, 8.00% of White, 53.00% of Brown & 22.00% were mixed varieties of smaller sizes. Catch Composition of coastal aquaculture is mostly Black Tigers.

Recent information indicate that China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines have been producing over 1200–1500 kg/ha. All these developments were possible due to technological improvements for production of shrimp fry through hatcheries and feed manufacturing. Bangladesh is far behind in artificial propagation of shrimps, as a result of which it is still dependent on collection of wild fry from the coastal estuaries. The Govt. of Bangladesh have taken up few projects for establishment of hatcheries for P. Monodon and M. Rosenbergii. These hatcheries have very recently gone into test-production. One private hatchery is already in production in Cox's Bazar. Projects such as establishment of demonstration farms; expansion of improved culture techniques, upgrading of the existing shrimp farms in Cox's Bazar and 1430 ha in Khulna region etc. have already been approved by the Govt. and are now at the final stage of implementation. All these projects, if implemented properly, may help shrimp production improve substantially. But one thing is almost certain that by expansion of the shrimp culture horizontally, the country will derive no tangible result unless availability of shrimp seeds and feed together with other facilities are made available to the farmers for an urgent switch over from the traditional extensive towards semi-intensive or intensive shrimp culture.

2.1.4 Potential for Culture of Shrimps

From the statistics given at Table 4, it is very clear that Bangladesh has a great potential for shrimp culture. It's coastal lands offer a readily available over a hundred thousand hectares of shrimp ponds where P. Monodon and other marine species can be cultured. There are also over one hundred and twenty thousand hectares of fresh water culturable ponds where M. rosenbergii and other freshwater species can easily be cultured. Potential for coastal cultured shrimps

According to recent surveys, there are about 108280 ha. of brackishwater coastal lands under shrimp culture for Black Tiger, white and brown shrimps. Present average production of about 240 kg/ha being too low, there are enough scopes to improve this a fewfold. According to my estimates the potential for coastal shrimp culture s to the minimum of about 75,000 MT and a maximum of 1,50.000 MT worth 600 m to 1200 m US dollars by the year 2000. Details of the potential is also given in Table 6. Annex-iv.

2.1.4 Potential for Freshwater Cultured Prawn

Bangladesh inland open waters have been producing best quality freshwater giant prawn locally known as “Golda” (M. rosenbergii) and other freshwater species from rivers, canals and paddy fields as wild catch only. Artificial propagation of the freshwater prawn is still being experimented with limited success. In the meantime, enthusiastic farmers have gone for monoculture of the giant prawn in their backyard ponds by collecting wild fry and have reported encouraging results.

There are about 1.29 million culturable ponds. These ponds have an water area of 120000 ha, where giant prawns may be cultured without remodelling many of the ponds. A 10 year (1991–2000) projection for utilizing these water areas and raising prawn culture production was prepared by me (Table 7). It may be seen from the projections that in addition to the present wild catch of approx 50000 MT of freshwater prawns, the country is capable of producing 1,25,000 MT of cultured freshwater prawns worth 875 m US dollars by 2000 at 1990 price. Total Potential of cultured Shrimp/Prawns

From and (Table 6 and 7), it is evident that Bangladesh has the potential of increasing its shrimp and prawn production, setting aside other crustaceans, to 67,500–1, 05,000 MT by 1995 and 2,000,00–2,75,000 MT by 2000, worth of US$ 500 m to 800 m and 1400–2100 million dollars during the same period. Even if 50% of this projection can be attained, the country will be able to produce 50,000 MT worth 400 m and 1,00,000 MT worth 800m US dollars by 1995 and 2000 respectively.

2.2 The Status of the Sea Foods Processing Industry

2.2.1 Number of Fish and Shrimp Processing Plants (shore-based)

Bangladesh has developed a very impressive sea food processing and freezing industry over the last 10–15 years. There were only 9 processing plants in the country with a total freezing capacity of 58 MT daily in 1971. From 1972 to 1976 only 4 plants with a combined capacity of 44 MT were commissioned. The trend of installation of freezing plants speeded up since 1977 and reached its climax during 1986–1989 period when 39 plants were commissioned in 3 years time Year-wise installation and commissioning of the freezing plants in Bangladesh with capacity is shown in Table 8 (Annex-v).

2.2.2 Capacity Utilisation (Shore based Plants)

The utilisation of the rated capacity of all plants has always been unsatisfactory. During 1960s most of the plants used to run 40–50% capacity. Gradually, the capacity utilisation has decreased due to unplanned growth of the industry and scarcity of raw materials. Percentage of capacity utilisation is shown in Table 9. It has been assumed that processing plants in Bangladesh may operate for a maximum of 200 days a year on the basis of shrimp seasons. It is observed from the data given here that the utilisation of plants capacity have decreased gradually from 24.10% in 1985–86 to 16.68% in 1989–90 and to 19.00% in 1992–93.

2.2.3 Overgrowth of Processing Plants (Shore-based)

From the records given at 2.2.1 and 2.2.2 and the existing exportable raw materials which may be estimated at 21–25 thousand metric tons of shrimps, and fish, one thing becomes very clear that only 15–20 units of processing plants can handle the product and the export business at 80–100% capacity, 30–40 units at 60% capacity and the rest of the plants are overgrowth and have grown in a very unplanned and haphazard manner. The industry has grown at 500% higher capacity as compared to the available raw materials and as such has become a very sick industry. According to export statistics, only 32 units were in production during FY 1992–93 and the rest were simply out of production, only 16 of 32 units earned over 100 m Taka in 1992–93.

2.2.4 Reasons for Overgrowth

The main reasons for overgrowth of the industry are (i) unplanned sanctioning of loan without any feasibility study (ii) keeping the industry in the free-list for a long period of time (iii) liberal financial support from the financial institutions (iv) hurried and haphazard approach for earning foreign exchange by many (v) to get bank loans easily and quickly.

2.2.5 Development of Trawler-based Processing Plants (Shrimp Trawlers)

Modern shrimp trawling was first introduced in 1979 by using deep sea freezer shrimp trawler. Before that Govt. trawlers of the Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation used to catch limited quantity of Shrimp by employing its refrigerated (Iced) trawlers. By 1992 there were as many as 48 shrimp trawlers in operation almost all in the private sector except 2 in the public sector. The trend of development of shrimp trawlers, their freezing capacity is shown in Table 10.

2.2.6 Raw Materials Situation

The Shore-based plants are dependent mostly on brackish water cultured shrimps or wild freshwater prawns such as M. rosenbergii. There are 20000 MT of headless exportable shrimps available in the country, though the demand for raw materials (shrimps mainly) is 1,36,000 MT. The present supply of shrimp is only 15% of the plants' requirement.

Shrimp potential out of the existing brackish water shrimp culture farms of 108,280 ha, is about 1,00,000–1,50,000 MT at a modest semi-intensive rate 1000–1500 kg/ha.

2.2.7 Major Problems for Shrimps and Fish Culture

Major problems retarding the growth of fish industry by culture of shrimps and fish in farms, ponds and tanks are as follows:

  1. Acute shortage of shrimp feed and fish feed. The country needs over 100,000 MT of shrimp & fish feed, against which only 6000 MT are available locally. More Shrimp Feed Mills are urgently needed.

  2. Acute shortage of shrimp fry. More and more modern shrimps hatcheries and nurseries are needed.

  3. Lack of modern technology.

  4. Lack of funds/loans from financial institutions.

2.2.8 Waste utilization

At present about 25000 MT of trash fishes are thrown overboard by the fleet of 67 trawlers, thus destroying fishing grounds and polluting the environment. There is no system of waste utilization from the processing plants, fish markets, poultry farms, cattle farms and slaughtering houses. A few modern waste processing plants are needed for making feed for the fish culture projects, especially for African or Thai catfishes which are going to make a major break through in near future.

2.3 Contribution to GDP

Contribution of fisheries sector to GDP is around 3.0%.

2.4 Employment

The whole of the fisheries sector employs about 1.20 m people who are directly or indirectly dependent on fishing, fish farming, fish processing etc. This figure is about 10% of the total population of the country. Out of the total about 6,95,000 are inland fishermen for whole time fishing or subsistence fishing, 4,12,000 are marine fishermen, about 5000–6000 are in the processing industry (both regular and casual) and about 87,000 in shrimp farming, fry collection, crab and frog collection, dry and dehydrated fish industry and in fish carrier boats.

3.0 Review of Govt. Policy Towards Development of Fishery Sector

There has been no Govt. policy for development of the fisheries sector so long. As a result the sector suffered much in respect to a balanced development. For instance, the fish and shrimp culture sub-sector is still in an infant stage, though there is a great potential for improvement. On the other hand, the processing industry witnessed such a faster growth that today about half of the total number of processing plants are out of production and the rest are under-utilised.

Recently Govt. of Bangladesh drafted a “Fishery Development Policy” for coordinated development of the sector. The salient features of the policy are as follows:

Objectives of Fishery Development Policy

Legal Status of Fishery Development Policy

Govt. semi-Govt. Multinational Organisations, Private, Voluntary Organisation, Individual or Groups of Individuals those situated within the geographical area of Bangladesh and are related to fishery development, export, import or fish business must abide by the Fishery Development Policy.

Jurisdiction of Fishery Development Policy

Under the new fishery development policy, private sectors are given priority to develop shrimp culture and fish processing industries. Foreign investors are allowed to undertake joint venture with the Bangladesh counterparts. At present, no joint venture projects in the field of trawling, shrimp culture are in operation. Foreign investment in shrimp hatchery, nursery and food mills except the processing industry may be of immense help to the country.

3.1 Encouragement to Private Sector

The sectoral infrastructural development had been very rapid during the last decade, specially during 1985–90 period. This has been possible due to the Govt. policy for declaring this sector under free list.

As a result, to-day there is a strong infrastructure of (i) 48 deep sea shrimp trawlers, (ii) 19 fin-fish trawlers, (iii) 97 processing plants, (iv) over 6000 mechanised fishing boats and (v) 108000 ha of water areas under coastal shrimp culture etc.

The Govt. financial institutions and commercial banks provided funds or loan for processing units. For encouraging the private sector, Govt. of Bangladesh has taken the following measures.

Processing plants established during recent years are of international standard. But some times lack of proper knowledge and negligence towards plant sanitation and personal hygiene of the workers gave rise to quality problems.

This problem can be resolved by proper supervision and vigilance. The group training of supervisors and workers may yield positive results.

Solar dried salted and dehydrated jewfish is now being produced mainly in Cox's Bazar for exporting to Hong Kong and Singapore. The dried Jewfish is produced under the direct supervision of Chinese technicians and as a result no quality problem is normally encountered. Dry fish and fermented fish are produced for local consumption by traditional methods. Fish meal and fish products are produced mainly by BFDC for local consumption.

Fish meal is produced from trash fish from trawler catch and from small mixed dry fish from off-shore islands. Fish products such as burger, finger, cutlet, cake, balls and minced fish are produced in a limited scale from low-cost under-utilised fishes by BFDC trawlers and have become popular to the city dwellers.

In order to go ahead with the latest developments being made in the field of fish processing and fish feed manufacture in the highly developed countries, diversification of products by the industry in respect to the following fish foods have been identified for immediate attention. The technology transfer in these fields may be useful to Bangladesh. Cooked & peeled shrimps, cook-freeze fish products, fish pastes and spreads, marinated fish products, fish protein concentrate (FPC), fish sausage from minced fish, ready to eat cooked fish food packed in ovenable pouch or tray, canned fish in edible oil, brine or tomato sauce, smoked fish, chilled fish, fillet and fish steaks under modified atmosphere packing (MAP which means replacement of air by a mixture of CO and N in the plastic packets), processed shark fins, meat and liver oil etc.

The industrial uses of fish are also of great importance. The possible fields are listed for consideration and development through modern technology transfer from developed nations: leather from shark skins, fish liver and body oil for industrial and pharmaceutical uses, fish silage, animal and pet foods, ornamental and decoration items from fish skin, shells scales, bones, teeth etc., pearl essence from scales of mainly pelagic fish, gelatin and isinglass from fish air-bladder, liquid fish glue from fish skins and heads, shrimp feed etc.

4.5 Skilled Manpower

At present Bangladesh has enough trained manpower for operation, repair and maintenance of fish freezing plants, ice plants, cold storage, net factory, fishing trawlers and mechanised fishing boats. All refrigeration plants in Bangladesh have been and are being established by local consultants, engineers and contractors. Marine Fisheries Academy in Chittagong provides professional training facilities to fishing trawler personnel. Many of them also work in shore-based processing plants. 619 cadet officers in the following fields of fisheries sector have passed out from 1973–74 to 1991–92.

Field of Study No of Cadets Passed-Out
Marine Engineering..247
Fish Processing Technology..87
Gear Technology..76
Refrigeration Engineering..24
Radio Electronics..17
Electronic Engineering..16
Boat Swain..05
Total 619

Besides, BFDC also trained many skilled fishermen/sailors/ mechanics for manning the trawlers, mechanised boats and ice-plants and freezing plants. Govt-run Polytechnic Institutes produce diploma engineers and technicians for operation and maintenance of processing and refrigeration plants. Both public and private-owned vocational training centres produce refrigeration operators and mechanics in huge numbers. Fisherman's Cooperative Society Provides training facilities to the fishermen of mechanised boats. Marine Science Institute of Chittagong University produces marine biologists. Marine biologists are capable of undertaking modern fish/shrimp culture as well as various research works. Mymensingh Agricultural University provides higher studies in Fish Aquaculture, Fish processing and Handling technology. But practical short-term training for management and operation of different types of fish food and by-products processing plants may-be needed in future in terms of foreign technical assistance.

4.6 Packaging Industry

The packaging Industry in Bangladesh mainly produces simple types of cardboard for master cartons and duplex papers for minicartons. Materials for the packaging is not of international standard. Foreign collaboration in this field will be of immense help.

4.7 Marketing of Fish

4.7.1 Internal Marketing

Bangladesh being a highly populous country with around 110 m people needs about 2.5 m tons of fish annually at the standard consumption rate of 20 kg per head per year, as against the existing consumption of 8 kg per head per year on the basis of present production of 1 m MT of fish. The demand and supply situation being so it is quite natural that the entire production of marine, estuarine and fresh-water fish is easily marketed domestically except a very small quantity of selected species of fin-fishes. Traditionally, people of Bangladesh like to eat fresh fish. Chilled fish are also marketed now a days in large quantities in the towns and cities. Marketing of frozen fish is quite negligible in the absence of customer preference and cold-chain marketing developments. Utilization and marketing distribution of fish is around 70% fresh and chilled fish, 25% dried and other forms of locally processed fish including fermentation and the rest are frozen products. Out of the total production of about 100,000 MT of live crustaceans mainly shrimps and prawns about 19000 MT (headless) equivalent to 36000 MT live-weight are exported and the rest smaller sizes and non-exportable quantity of approximately 64000 MT are marketed domestically.

4.7.2 International Marketing Exports

Export of shrimp, fish and other fishery products was a non-conventional item before the independence of the country. It has increased many-folds during the last decade earning more and more foreign exchange to minimise the national balance of trade.

The major export items of this sector are (i) Frozen Foods comprising of Frozen shrimps, Frozen fish and Frozen Froglegs, (ii) other fishery products - such as chilled fish, salted and dehydrated fish, dry fish, shark-fins and maws, crabs, tortoise and turtles. Small quantities of cephalopods such as squids and cutle fish are also exported. Exports of Frozen Foods

The share of frozen sea foods is around 9434% of the total exports of fishery products. In 1992-93, frozen foods earned 165.34 m US$ (94.34%) and other fishery products 9.80 m US$ (5.66%). Out of the frozen foods sub-sector frozen shrimps accounted for 155.48 m US$ (90.10%), frozen fish 9.80 m US$ (9.90%) and frozen froglegs had no earnings since it was totally banned by the Govt. The trend of export performance for last 5 years in terms of quantity and value is shown in Table 11 (Annex-vii). Exports of other Fishery Products

This sub-sector constituted only 5.66% of the total exports of the sector during 1992-93. Item wise share of export value is Dry Fish 1.80%, Salted and Dehydrated fish 1.45%, Shark-fins and Fish Maws 2.10%, Crabs 0.84%, Tortoise & Turtles 0.14%.

4.7.3 Major Export Markets Market for Frozen Shrimps/Prawns

The Major exports market for Bangladesh frozen Shrimp are USA (38.33%), EEC (36.49%), Japan (9.88%) and Germany (10.66%). During 1991-92 exports of frozen Shrimps to different world markets were as follows:

U.S. & othersEEC:36.49%Asean/FEA:4.12%
   Norway:0.07% Frozen Froglegs Markets

The major export markets for frozen froglegs during 1991-92 were USA (92.03%), Belgium (4.49%) and Canada (3.48%). Export of froglegs has been totally banned by the Govt. from 1992-93, in order to preserve the environment. Frozen Fish Markets

The major export markets of this product during 1991-92 were EEC (56.78%), Middle East (24.49%) ASEAN (12.6%), USA (4.11%), Japan (2.00%). Country-wise exports during this period was a follows:

EEC/USA:56.78%Middle East:24.49%Asean/FEA:12.60%
U.K.:56.18%S. Arabia:6.42%Singapore:5.75%
   Bahrain:0.24% Markets of Dry Fish

The major markets for dry fish during 1991-92 were ASEAN (80.08%), Middle East (10.66%), E.E.C. (8.75%) Country-wise breakup is as follows:

Asean:88.08%Middle East 1:0.66%E.E.C.:8.75%
   S. Arabia:0.23% Markets for Salted & Dehydrated Fish

The only market for this item was Hongkong (100%) for the year 1991-92. During 1990-91 the major markets were Hongkong (76.69%), Japan (11.77%), Singapore (4.75%), USA (4.64%), UK (1.21%), Malaysia (0.54%) and Belgium (0.40%). Markets for Shark Fins & Fish Maws

Major Markets for this item are Hongkong and Singapore. In 1991-92 the markets for this product were Hongkong (71.69%), Singapore (23.65%), U.K. (4.40%), Thailand (0.18%) and Malayasia (0.04%). Markets for Crabs

The major markets for crabs during 1991-92 were Singapore (72.18%), Malayasia (9.21%), Taiwan (8.77%), Hongkong (6.63%), Qatar (1.51%) and U.K. (1.01%). Markets for Tortoise and Turtles

The major markets for this item in 1990-91 was Singapore (79.28%), China (1.70%), Japan (10.14%), Hongkong (3.04%), UK (3.13%), Korea (2.42%) and U.S.A. (0.29%). This trend was changed during 1991-92 to Singapore (34.13%), China (27.82%), Japan (18.61%), Hongkong (10.48%), Spain (4.75%) and Kuwait (4.21%).

4.8 Conclusion

The status of development of the fishery industry in Bangladesh has been presented by me in a nutshell in this paper. The development of deep sea trawling fleet, pelagic fishing boats like gill netters or mechanised fishing boats have been developed to the optimum. Marine fish catches have almost reached a saturation point. The sea food processing industry have overgrown by 400% to 500% as compared to raw material situation. On the other hand, the country has great potential for fresh water aquaculture, freshwater shrimp culture, marine and brackishwater shrimp culture and mariculture of sea fish, lobsters, oysters, sea weeds etc. By introducing modern technology towards semi-intensive and intensive shrimp and fish culture quickly preferably through joint-venture projects with developed countries and with developing countries through regional co-operation, Bangladesh can make a major breakthrough in the field of fishery production and exports. Given all international and inter regional co-operation the country can reach the target of fish production of 3.00 m tons and shrimp production of 200000 tons within a decade. To attain this target simultaneous development in the fields of hatchery, nursery and rearing technology together with the production of fish feed and shrimp feed are of utmost importance. The same time production of valueadded fish, shrimp and other fishery products is urgently required for Bangladesh to earn more the foreign exchange which is badly needed for the country.


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  2. E.P.B. : Hand Book for Exporters in Bangladesh, Export Promotion Bureau, June 24, 1986.

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  6. G.O.B. : Report on the Shrimp Culture Situation in the Khulna Region, submitted by the Sub-Committee No. 2 of the Standing Committee 1 Fisheries & Livestock, 27 September, 1989 (in Bangla.).

  7. INFOFISH: Shrimp 88-Conference Proceeding, 26–28 January, 1988, Bangkok, Thailand.

  8. ADB/FAO/INFOFISH: Shrimp Market report, Vol. 3, ADB/FAO/INFOFISH March, 1983.

  9. Golam Kibria: Shrimp Resources % Shrimp Culture in Bangladesh, 1983 (in Bangla.).

  10. M. Karim: Status and Potential of Bangladesh Fisheries, 1978.

  11. M. Karim: Brackish Water Aquaculture in Bangladesh - A Review, Report No. 12, FAO/UNDP TA Project BGD 83–010 February, 1987.

  12. M. Karim: Problems of Shrimp Farming in Bangladesh-Workshop on Socio-economic Aspects of Fishing Community in Bangladesh BARC-CIRDAP, 10–11 June, 1987.

  13. Fish Catch Statistics of Bangladesh, DOF/GOB (1983-92).

  14. G.O.B. : Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh, Bureau of Statistics, GOB, 1987.

  15. UNDP/FAO: Shrimp Fisheries in the Bay of Bengal, BOBP/WP/58, August, 1989.

  16. Hussain, M. M. : Marine and Estuarine Fisheries of East Pakistan with particular reference to trailing. Trans. Fish protein Cone. Seminar, Dhaka, 1967.

  17. Hussain, M. M. : The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of the North-East Part of the Bay of Bengal, Scientific Researches, Vol. 7, No.1, East Regional Laboratories, January, 1970.

  18. Hussain, M. M. : The Commercial Fishes of the Bay of Bengal, UNDP Project Pak-22, Pub. No. 1, September, 1971.

  19. Hussain, M. M. : Pre-Investment Survey for the Dev. of Fisheries in East Pakistan, Fish Industry International, EPFDC Issue, Karachi, Pakistan, 1969.

  20. Hussain, M. M. : Marine Fisheries Resources of the Bay of Bengal Trans. Seminar Marine Fisheries Dev. in Bangladesh. 10–11 March, 1982.

  21. Hussain, M. M. : The Fisheries Industry of Bangladesh (Country Paper) Ist Consultation on World Fishing Industry, FAO/UNDP, Gdanx, Poland, 1–5 June, 1987.

  22. Hussain, M. M. : The International Fish Trade of Bangladesh and it's Fish Processing Industry (Country Paper) Ist Consultation on World Fishing Industry, FAO/UNDP, Gdanx Poland, 1–5 June, 1987.

  23. Hussain, M. M. : BFDC-An Export Potential for Frozen Foods & Fishery Products. BFDC, Dhaka, December, 1988.

  24. Hussain, M. M. : Fish and Shrimp Processing Industry of Bangladesh, Proceedings of the GOB/ESCAP/UNCTC/UNIDO WORKSHOP on Transfer of Technology for Entrepreneurial Development in Bangladesh, 4–8 March, 1990, Published by United nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific, bangkok, 1990.


Table 1. The Water Area Statistics & Catch of Fish

Sector of FisheriesWater Areas
Catch (Production) in M. Ton
(i)Capture Fisheries     
1.Rivers & Esturies1031563207766213057199600195117
2.Sundarbans 7783682571126035
4.Kaptai Lake688004057270024333981
5.Flood Lands2832792200616194130187396183796
 Total Capture Fishery40473164715951
(ii)Closed Water Fishery     
3.Shrimps Farms     
Total of Closed Water Fishery204190117025
Inland Total (Ai+Aii)4251506588620
(i)Industrial Fisheries 14500124401189812356
(ii)Artisanal Fisheries 150382175123195503205223
 Marine Total (Bi+Bii) 164882
 Country Total (A+B) 753502

Table 2. The Water Area Statistics & Catch of Fish (1987–88 to 1992–93)

Sector of FisheriesWater Areas
Catch (Production of fish in M. Tons)
(i)Capture Fishery       
1.River & Estuaries1031563183817181140173410135355131294128945
2.Sundarbans 806664166393665162976550
4.Kaptai Lake68800406834393713439242164500
5.Flood Lands2832792182037186126193762249083293213339935
 Total Capture Fishery4047316423598
(ii)Closed Water Fishery       
3.Shrimp Farms       
To 1992–93       
 Total of Closed Water Fishery260658175925
 Inland Total (Ai+Aii)4307974599523607645616464654397709740775472
(i)Industrial Fisheries 1039510353113798760962311230
(ii)Artisanal Fisheries 217187222928227684232778235851239250
 Marine Total (Bi+Bii) 227582
 Country Total 827105


Table 3. Trend of Fish Production in Bangladesh (in 1000 MT)


Source: Directorate of Fisheries, GOB

Table 4. (Trend of Utilisation of Land Under Shrimp Culture and production of shrimp per ha).

F. YearNo. of FarmsArea under cultivation
Shrimp Production
Average Farm Size (ha)
1983–843171  51812  43868516.34
1984–853171  64246  757811820.26
1985–863171  873001465816827.53
1986–873778  873001477316923.10
1987–883778  9401017889190.2924.88


Table 5. (Trend of shrimp/prawn catches in Bangladesh: Live-weight in MT.

F.YSource-wise catch of shrimp/prawn
Marine captureCoastal aquacultureFreshwater captureCountry Total
Trawler catchArtisanal catchTotal
1983–844500  752012020  43864125057656
1984–853140  876011900  75784006959547
1985–864031  3550  7581146585305875324
41881904523233 260005022599458

Source : DOF/GOB “P” means provisional figures.


Table 6. Potential for Coastal Aquaculture Shrimp Production (Total area remaining constant at 1,00,000 ha).

YearArea under cultureEstimated Shrimp Production (in 1000 MT)Estimated Value in millionUS$ at 1990 constant price
Extensive (100–200 kgs)Semi-Exten-(500–1000 kgs)Intensive (1000– 2000 kgsTotal
19919010-918510--  1428112224
19928017 38168.517 3  619.539156312
19937025 571412.52551024.549196392
199460301061215301020  3162248496
19964040204 820402040  4488352704
19973045253 622.545255050.5101  404808
19982050302 425503060  57114  456912
1999-5545--27.555459072.5145  5961176  
2000-5050--255050100  75150  6001200  
Estimate Average Production/750 kgs1500 kgs  


Table 7. Potential for Freshwater Shrimp Production in Ponds (Total Culturable Pond Nos, 9,84,000 and Water Area 1,20,000 ha).

YearArea under culture (100 ha Estimate Production (100 MT)Estimated value in million US$ at 1990 constant price of $7,000 per MT
1991532100.51.5 4642

Table 8. Growth of Processing Plants in Bangladesh (Shore-based)

PeriodNo. of YearsNo. of PlantsCapacity MT/DayAverage Unit Capacity (MT)
1959–711309  58.506.50
1972–760504  44.0011.00  
1989–920304  29.007.25

Table 9. Percentage of Capacity Utilisation of Plants in Bangladesh national average (For Shore-based plants)

YearNo. of Freezing plants in OperationTotal Capacity per day (MT)Total Annual Capacity on 200 working days (MT)Export during the yr (MT)% of capacity utilisation
1975–761488.5 19,700 3,62018.38%
1979–8029203  40,60010,48025.81%
1984–8554378  75,60017,07122.59%
1985–8659431  86,20020,77724.10%
1986–8770490  98,00022,13422.58%

Table 10. Development of Trawler-based Processing plants (shrimp trawlers)

YearNo. of TrawlersFreezing Capacity (in MT)
IntroducedTotal No.IntroducedTotal/day
1979010101.50  1.50


Table 11. Export of Frozen Foods & Other Fishery Products from Bangladesh

FYExport of Frozen FoodsExport other fishery production (in MTs)
 ShrimpFrogegsFr. fishTotalDry fishSalled Dehyd FishS. Fish MawsTotalGrant Total
1992–93Q42.38-     5.9748.351042.00599.00238.391879.39-     
$155.48-     9.86165.343.152.543.679.36174.70
Tk6040.33-     383.136423.46122.5798.36142.48363.416786.87

Q = Quantity of frozen foods in million Lbs.
Q = Quantity of other fishery products in M. Tons.
$ = in million dollars
Tk= in million Taka.

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