TBTI Bangladesh e-book gets media attention

By Ruyel Miah

Small-scale fisheries in Bangladesh are both too big to ignore and too important to fail. The sector provides employment, food, and nutritional security for the millions of people in the country. However, issues and concerns about small-scale fisheries receive less attention compared to other industries, such as large-scale fisheries, garments, and shipbreaking. The TBTI e-book, entitledSmall in Scale, Big in Contributions: Advancing Knowledge of Small-Scale Fisheries in Bangladesh’, edited by Dr. Mohammad Mahmudul Islam from Sylhet Agricultural University, Bangladesh, aims to fill this knowledge gap. The book contains 37 chapters contributed by 85 authors and covers small-scale fisheries in a range of water bodies in Bangladesh, including haor, rivers, lakes, mangroves, and coastal and transboundary ecosystems. The chapters have national and global importance, and since the launch in March of this year, the book has attracted attention from local and national media coverage. Most recently, one of the chapters was featured on a national television channel, Somoy TV’s online news portal.

Somoy Television is a Bangladeshi Bengali-language satellite and cable news television channel, known as the most subscribed news channel on YouTube in Bangladesh. Through their online news portal, the TV channel featured a chapter of TBTI Bangladesh’s book on Hilsa Fisheries, entitled ‘Three young people’s research on hilsa resource development,’ written by Atiqur Rahman Sunny, Sharif Ahmed Sajjad, and Mahmudul Hasan Mithun. Citing the chapter, the news highlighted how the country’s most valuable fish species, i.e., Hilsa, has been declining over the years.

Mr. Mahmudul Hasan Mithun, Scientific Officer, Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, was mentioned in the news, talking about measures taken by government and non-government organizations at various scales to recover the Hilsa fish stock. These initiatives have brought some positive outcomes in terms of stock increase. Another co-author, Mr. Sharif Ahmed Sajjad, Research Assistant, Pathfinder Research and Consultancy Center, talked about the compensation measures that the governing bodies have for the affected small-scale fishing communities from government policies such as the annual 65 days fishing ban. The lead author, Mr. Atiqur Rahman Sunny, PhD Student from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology and Director of Pathfinder Research and Consultancy Center, further elaborated on the effectiveness of the governing action and compensation measures, expressing that government initiatives have succeeded to a small extent, while the negative outcomes are many. According to him, the negative outcomes are due to poor implementation of governing initiatives, which resulted in increased vulnerabilities of small-scale fishing communities, who rely on Hilsa fisheries for their daily income and livelihoods. Particularly, the annual fishing ban and inappropriate compensation measures by the government have contributed to the vulnerabilities, such as reduced income, increased indebtedness, food and nutritional insecurity, and limited alternative income opportunities of small-scale fisheries. Mr. Sunny stressed the need for the revision of the current Hilsa management strategy to be more in compliance with the community’s needs.

The news coverage on the Hilsa fishery based on the TBTI Bangladesh book chapter contributed to raising awareness about small-scale fisheries of Bangladesh. It brings to light the issues and opportunities of often marginalized, undervalued, and unrepresented small-scale fisheries and  it will hopefully lead to increased attention and action from the public and private sectors in order to enhance their contribution and strengthen their viability.


Ruyel M. Miah is a Ph.D. student at the University of Waterloo, Canada. His research aims to examine the governance of small-scale fisheries and their interconnection to vulnerability and viability. He completed his Master of Arts in Geography from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. His research interests include small-scale fisheries governance, market access and value chain in fisheries, vulnerability and viability of small-scale fisheries, and conservation and sustainability of marine fisheries resources.