Community fishers attend screening of award-winning film organized by FAO

The film was screened at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom, last year

A special screening of the critically acclaimed film ‘Nona Joler Kabbo’ was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to celebrate the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022).

An audience of 150 people, including 40 fishers, watched the film in Cox’s Bazar, along with the director, and other special guests, said a press release issued on Tuesday.

Celebrating IYAFA 2022 gives important recognition to the millions of small-scale fishers, fish farmers, and fish workers considering their contributions to food security and economies are often hidden or overlooked against the backdrop of more visible agricultural sector activities.

“On behalf of FAO, I would like to thank all the small-scale fishers in Bangladesh for their incredible contribution and hard work,” said Robert D Simpson, FAO Representative in Bangladesh. 

“Small-scale fisheries are generally gentler on the environment yet these very fishers are increasingly on the receiving end of climate change challenges such as extreme weather, floods, and droughts. It is important to make their voices heard by raising awareness and to integrate their opinions into policy dialogue,” he added.

Set in a small Bangladeshi fishing village, The Salt in Our Waters (Nona Joler Kabbo) explores the challenges of climate change. The film was screened at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom, last year.

The screening in Cox’s Bazar included an interactive reflection session between the director, film crew, fishers, farmers, community leaders, representatives from development partners and civil society organizations, plus government officials from the Department of Fisheries, Department of Environment, Department of Agricultural

Extension, and District Commissioner’s office.

One of the fishers who saw the film, Shumi Akhter, 25, from Cox’s Bazar, said: “I liked the movie, it seemed like the story of our lives. I’m happy that people are considering us and making films about the challenges that we face almost every day.”

The film’s director, Rezwan Shahriar Sumit, paid tribute to the resilience and spirit of small-scale and artisanal fishers. He said: “After having spent many months in the company of artisanal fishers, I realized that they are a people plagued by disruptions but not defined by them. They are incredibly brave, resilient, resourceful, colourful, and full of ideas, hope, and potential.”

He added: “This extraordinary land and seascape, which nature both restores and menaces, must be protected. We are the generation that can and must make peace with nature.”

FAO is undertaking a number of initiatives to build the resilience of vulnerable small-scale fishers in Bangladesh. A nationwide assessment is being conducted to understand fish ecosystems and fishers’ vulnerability to climate change. 

The climate vulnerability assessment report will aid the design of area-specific adaptation options, including community fisheries ecosystem management plans. 

Additionally, FAO is providing training on fisheries and aquaculture climate resilience, benefiting 3,000 fisher households in the last year. To supplement the training, 2,500 households in the southwest coastal and the haor regions have formed community-based organizations to pilot climate-resilient technologies.

FAO also seeks to improve disaster preparedness and management of fishers. In collaboration with the government of Bangladesh, FAO is integrating fisheries and aquaculture into existing early warning systems. By 2023, FAO aims to reach 400,000 people with specific fisheries and aquaculture advisories in relation to climate hazards.