Fish Farming: An Emerging Sector in Bangladesh

Fish Farming
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Bangladesh is believed strongly as one of the most appropriate regions for fish farming in south-east Asia as well as in the world, with the largest swamped land in the world and the third-largest aquatic biodiversity in Asia after China and her neighboring country India.

This increase has been made possible with the implementation of scientific and technological modernization in the aquaculture sector. Now Bangladesh, the name of one of the leading fish producing countries in the world with a total production of 42.85 lakh MT in FY 2018-19, where the contribution of aquaculture production is about 56.30% of the total fish production according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Fish Farming

Fish farming, also known as aquaculture, involves the controlled cultivation of fish for commercial purposes. It encompasses various methods such as freshwater, marine, and brackish water farming. In fish farms, fish are raised in tanks, ponds, or ocean enclosures, with conditions optimized for growth and health.

This practice provides a sustainable alternative to wild fish harvesting, helping to meet the growing demand for seafood while reducing pressure on natural fish populations. Additionally, fish farming supports employment in rural areas and contributes to food security worldwide.

However, it also faces challenges such as environmental impacts and disease management, necessitating careful regulation and innovation for long-term viability.

Food Supply

Fish is the most common element of daily food chart for all Bangladeshi giving rises to the adage Maache-Bhate Bangali (“a Bengali is made of fish and rice”) according to Prof. Ghose (2014). According to nutrition scientist, an adult people should consume approximately 45.3g protein in a day. Among them, 15.1g will be animal protein and for Bangladeshi people about 80% of animal protein comes from fishes. According to BBS Bangladeshi people consume about 62.58 gram per day which targets a set of 60 gram per day.  So, fish has a great importance source as a nutritious food.

Fish farming as a great source of protein resource.
Fish as a food

Employment Generation

More than 17 million people including about 1.4 million women depend on the fisheries sector or fish farming for their livelihoods through fishing, farming, fish handling, and processing a different survey revealed that more than 80% of laborers engaged in the fish processing industries were women According to Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh (DoF).

About 12% of people are directly or indirectly engaged with fish farming and fish related jobs and business in Bangladesh. According to WorldFish people earn their livelihood by catching fish from the open streams, canal, rivers or even deep sea. There are also so many ponds all around the country where most of those are practiced for fish production as well. By using modern fish farming methods, fish production in these types of ponds can be increased. But these types of modern fish farming require more people which are a great opportunity for eradicating unemployed problems.

Production Trend

The average growth performance of this sector is around 5.26% for the last 10 years in Bangladesh(BBS). Aquaculture shows not only a sturdy but also consistent growth, the average growth rate is almost 10 percent over the same timeframe.

It is considered that if this trend of fish production continues, it will be possible to achieve the projected production target of 45.52 lakh MT by 2021 in conformity with the targets of Vision-2021.

After 46 years of independence, now Bangladesh is not only a self-sufficient country in fish production but also an exporter of fish with the hand of fish farming. There is a slight growth in the production from both inland capture and marine fisheries are also noticed during the recent past years with some exceptions.

Exporting Trend

Recently fisheries and aquaculture sectors have emerged as the second most important contributors to the export earnings of Bangladesh (DoF). Today After 46 years of independence Bangladesh is not only the self-sufficient country in fish production but also an exporter of fish.

There has also been a recent increase in the value of fishery exports, with more than US $34.08 billion in 2010 rising to more than US $46.60 billion in 2017. More than 2% of the export value comes from the inland fisheries sector in Bangladesh’s economy according to Yearbook of Fisheries Statistics of Bangladesh 2017-18. Though, fisheries production is well below production targets despite the large gains seen in the aquaculture sector as the prediction.

Contribution in GDP

The fisheries sector contributed about 3.60% to national GDP and about 25.40% to the agricultural GDP and 1.6% to foreign exchange earnings by exporting fish and fish products in 2018-19(BBS). On the other hand, it provides 60% of national animal protein consumption. This sector also plays an important role in rural employment generation as well as poverty alleviation.

Poultry Feed Supply

The unused portion of fishes which are considered as fish residual like scales, bones, innards and dried fish powder is highly nutritious feed ingredients of poultry. There are many small industries, that have sat up for this purpose in Bangladesh are engaged to produce poultry feed by these raw materials now. Egg and meat production of poultry get increased rapidly by feeding these types of nutritious food.


The favorable geographic location of Bangladesh which is favorable for fish farming mainly carp fish and to comes with a huge number of aquatic species and provides a lot of resources to support fisheries’ potential. But the improvement of this sector is going on properly, there are problems founded. Specialists say that, this sector faces several challenges such as over-fishing. Several number of factors are marked as responsible for fisheries resource degradation which construction of roads and embankments, drainage, flood control and natural siltation, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, controlling pollution, damming in major river systems on upstream.

So, the time has come to do soothing both people and the government for the development of fish farming. Ordinance 1983 and the Marine Fisheries Ordinance 1983 should be implemented strongly. Moreover, Legal arrangements for the Bangladesh fisheries sector and the government formulated policies such as national fisheries policy 1998 for the protection and development of fish species and fisheries environment.

How many people are engaged with farming in Bangladesh?

According to the Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh (DoF), 12% of people are directly engaged with fish farming.

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