Bridge Overview
An abridged overview of Bangladesh Fishery Product Sector
Bangladesh export basket is endowed with a handful product, and the frozen fish and shrimp sector is the second largest export sector after readymade garments (RMG). In 2010-11, fisheries earned an equivalent of US$ 950.33 million accounting for over 4% contribution to the national total exports earning. Fisheries export earning constituted 56% and shrimp alone constituted 45% to the total export earning from all agro-based primary commodities, including tea, raw jute, vegetables, etc besides fisheries. The share of shrimp to the total fisheries export is 81 percent. In terms of generation of employment, its contribution to the economy is substantial. The shrimp sub-sector provides whole time employment to an estimated 0.7 to 1.0 million rural people and part-time or casual employment to nearly as many more people. Majority of the workers employed in this sub-sector are rural women coming from socially disadvantageous and poor groups. If ancillary linkage industries (both backward and forward) are taken into consideration, it can be said that several million people are dependent on the shrimp sub-sector directly or indirectly for their livelihood. This industry supports large varieties of ancillary industries such as shrimp processing plants, feed mills, ice plants, hatcheries, net factories, baskets, sluice gates rickshaw vans, tempos, boats, etc.
Although, the frozen foods sector in its ambitious Vision 2010 prepared hoped to earn overUS$1.0 billion from shrimp exports annually by 2010, various challenges confronted the industry not allowing it to achieve the target. The main problems include inability of achieving any significant positive changes in the production level per unit. Water area due to poor aquaculture infrastructure and non-application of improved production technologies, recurrent mass mortalities of the farmed shrimp from viral diseases, resource use conflicts among the resource user categories, natural calamities. Besides, new non-tariff trade conditions, such as stricter food safety measures, traceability and environmental requirements and labour standards, etc are being constantly added by the importing countries. Inability to address these problems in a smart and timely manner may result in the demise of this lucrative sector.
While many neighboring countries such as China, Thailand and India are genuinely working with pragmatic plans and polices to further strengthen their hold on the lucrative shrimp markets, Bangladesh -despite having enormous prospects - is now struggling to survive because of numerous problems. The Bangladesh fish and shrimp sector needs immediate polices and programs in the areas of research for intensifying shrimp culture to increase productivity on a sustainable manner, providing loans for the farmers, creating mass awareness about the various non-tariff trade conditions and methods of their appropriate compliance as required by the international buyers.
The shrimp farming area in 2010-11 covered about 214,000 ha; of this marine shrimp farms occupied 170,000 ha; and freshwater shrimp 48,000 ha. More than 20 districts and 52 Upazilas are now involved in shrimp farming. There are over 60 large to medium size marine shrimp hatcheries and 80 freshwater prawn hatcheries mostly small. Depots for gathering shrimp at the field level number around 8,000. There are 7-8 modern feed factories producing shrimp and fish feed, besides, there are a large number of feed factories using crude machinery and technology. The number of ice plants servicing the shrimp industry is large, but their accurate number is not known. Thus far, 149 shrimp processing plants have been established, but 88 factories have government licenses, only 74 plants have secured EU approval.
At present only about 20% -25% of installed capacity of the operational shrimp and fish processing factories is being used. About 48 to 50% of the processed shrimp is exported to EU Countries, 30 % to the USA and the rest to Japan and various other countries.

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