There is no alternative to education in order to improve their livelihood, said Rezaul Karim Chowdury
Speakers at a webinar said that the fishing community in coastal areas of Bangladesh need a sustainable solution for their livelihood as climate change is causing damage to the fish habitats.
They made the remark at a webinar titled “Impact of Climate Change on the Bay of Bengal - Impact on Coastal Social-Ecological System”, organized by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) on Tuesday.
Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, said almost 1.3 million people work in the marine capture fisheries sector and their human rights should be protected.
“The fisheries sector in Bangladesh is globally acclaimed. Our aim is to bring a positive change for coastal fishermen and provide a sustainable solution,” she said.
Sille Stidsen, anthropologist at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, said the fishermen are usually the most poor and vulnerable people in this sector and their livelihood needs to be protected.
“We need to take a holistic approach. Both social and environmental concerns need to be addressed to come up with a sustainable solution,” she said.
Md Shahab Uddin, minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.
“The government has taken a number of projects for the betterment of the coastal area fishing community. However, developed nations, which are responsible for climate change, need to step forward and do their part for the vulnerable countries,” he said.
Rezaul Karim Chowdury of Coast Trust said fisher folks are the victims of climate change as the number of cyclones in coastal areas are increasing.
He said there is no alternative to education in order to improve their livelihood. “The government should provide technical education for the schools in coastal areas.”
Dr M Niamul Naser, chairman of Zoology Department at Dhaka University, said fisher folks in coastal areas are migrating to different places because the fish population is decreasing in the ocean.
Samiya Ahmed Selim, associate Professor at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) and director of ULAB’s Centre for Sustainable Development, recommended to enhance climate change resiliency for marine ecosystems and resources, the government should prioritize biodiversity conservation and sustainable marine fisheries, shift industrial fishing operations from extraction-oriented to sustainably managed extraction through mandated monitoring, reporting and species-specific trade transparency and accountability.
She also said the government needs to adapt science-based fisheries management practices to fine-tune spatial and temporal closures and gear modifications.