Marine megafauna in the northern Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh: Status, threats and conservation needs

Authors: Amany Begum, Subrata Sarker, Md. Sifat Uzzaman, Md. Mostafa Shamsuzzaman, Mohammad Mahmudul Islam*

* TBTI member

This study investigated the status of charismatic marine megafauna in the northern Bay of Bengal. Specifically, the authors gathered information on fishers’ perceptions of megafauna in the Bay of Bengal to determine whether fishers view megafauna species as beneficial or harmful and/or under threat. Small-scale fishers interact with marine megafauna as bycatch or intentional harvest, although a small portion of fishers keep the bycatch for sale and consumption or use as ingredients in traditional medicine. The findings reflect a lack of a coherent legal and institutional framework to facilitate conservation of marine megafauna. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of megafauna status in the northern Bay of Bengal that, in effect, will help define future efforts to enhance marine megafauna conservation in the context of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 and blue growth.