The Economy of the Fisheries Industry in Bangladesh

Despite global uncertainties, Bangladesh has experienced remarkable growth driven by a demographic dividend, thriving RMG exports, resilient remittances, and stable macroeconomics. Emerging from extreme poverty in 1971, it achieved lower-middle-income status in 2015 and is set to exit the UN’s LDC list in 2026 (WB, 2023). Poverty decreased from 11.8% in 2010 to 5.0% in 2022, accompanied by significant improvements in human development outcomes (WB, 2023). Amidst this progress, a burgeoning middle class (estimated at over 30 million) has spurred demand for high-quality agricultural products, particularly fish (US Department of Commerce, 2022). Consequently, both domestic production and consumption of fish have risen, positively impacting Bangladesh’s fish industry. Furthermore, export opportunities are bolstering fish production expansion. Given the escalating local and global demand, the fisheries industry possesses the substantial potential to bolster the agricultural sector, thereby bolstering its diminishing share in the total GDP.

Bangladesh boasts extensive and diversified fisheries resources, broadly classified into inland fishing and marine fisheries (Shamsuzzaman, Islam, et al., 2017). Inland capture fisheries encompass diverse areas such as Beel, River, Estuary, Kaptai Lake, and Flood Plain. In contrast, inland culture fisheries include Pond, Ditch, Baor, Pen Culture, Cage Culture, Shrimp/Prawn Farm, and Seasonal Cultured Water Bodies (Shamsuzzaman et al., 2020). The inland fisheries sector spans an expansive 47.06 lakh hectares, a decrease from 2017, with inland capture occupying 38.61 lakh hectares and inland culture covering 8.45 lakh hectares (MoFL, 2023b). Conversely, marine capture fisheries extend across an area of approximately 118,813 km2, encompassing 200 nautical miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from the baseline (MoFL, 2023a).