Nowadays one of the most highlighted topics for Bangladesh is blue economy. Blue economy refers to the economic activity based on maritime resources. The blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improve livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem (WB). Blue Economy was considered at the RIO+20 UNITED NATION conference on sustainable development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. The sea is the best sources of energy utilization. Now many nations are trying to ensure the most extreme utilization of the sea. We have a goal of become a developed nation by 2041. It is called ‘VISSION 2041’. And our economy is based on Agriculture. It is not enough for a country for reaching this type of goal. If we want to fulfil our goal, we need to give focus on blue economy. My goal in this paper to bring the topic that how we can use the opportunity of blue economy for sustainable development. For achieving my goal, I want to organize my paper into three sections. First section I want to provide information about our maritime border. In second section I will provide the information why blue economy is important. In third section I will provide the sectors of blue economy what we can use for reaching our goal.
Ocean is a mystery for the people of Bangladesh. The waves, fish, ship, are the ornaments of the sea. We have maritime border with India and Myanmar. But we had no maritime boundary with them. For this reason, we couldn’t use our ocean properly. But recently, Bangladesh has picked up a large area in the Bay of Bengal through the settlement of sea debates with India and Myanmar. Maritime boundary is the division of the water surface of the planet into maritime areas of contribution that are defined through surrounding physical geography or by human geography. It is also called the borders of a maritime nation and is recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS:1983). Bangladesh has achieved absolute sovereignty on vast maritime area, on overall, approximately 111,631 square kilometers was assigned to Bangladesh of the relevant area with Myanmar (approximately 171,832 square kilometers to Myanmar) (Zamal Fayaz, 2012), and 19,467 sq. kms to Bangladesh of 25,602 sq. kms with India (Ajker Bisso). This sea settlement has preferred Bangladesh with the extension of regional territory and Economic zone. The geographical zone involves more than 1,18,813 sq. km. of water including 200 nautical miles over the sizeable range. Now Bangladesh can claim to be a nation of blue economy.
Bangladesh is a small country with vast population. And we also have enough natural resources on land side. Like natural gas, Coal, etc. But we are losing our resources rapidly. We can’t find fish in our river. Rivers are all going to dead. We can’t find gas for home. We are using coal for increasing our supply of electricity. Not only in Bangladesh but also all over the world has been racked by food, oil, natural, economic and money related crisis. But Bangladesh can solve these problems. For solving those problems, we need to use properly our blue economy. A blue economy can bargain systemically with these difficulties. 70% of the world is secured by the sea and around 90% of the world’s exchange of products is directed via ocean. It is high time that Bangladesh set up to utilize the ocean assets and fitted its labor with learning and innovating to bring success to the country.
If we want to see our country as a developed country, we need to use our ocean properly. Our nation has won the massive maritime boundary. It has made a large scope to investigate mineral resources from the seabed without any obstacles. A great supply of living and non-living assets is available under the seabed and water section. We can see some potential sectors of blue economy for Bangladesh.
Tourism is one of the most gainful sectors in Bangladesh. And sea-based tourism is very popular for our nation. We can make it our one of the most gainful business sectors. We have incredible chance for become a tourist-based country. We can make it by using our sea side. Furthermore, new one vital thing is the tourism-related administrations spread to similarly to what inaccessible to remote regions already.
Cox’s Bazar: It is the first candidate amongst the tourism destinations of Bangladesh. It was named by British East India company officer, Captain Hiram Cox (Wikipedia). It is considered as the largest sea beach of the world. This beach is unbroken 120 km sandy sea beach. Most popular points or beaches are Laboni beach, Sugondha beach, Inani beach. We can visit popular Himchori hill and see natural fount. And we have the biggest surprise which is Marine Drive. This is the largest marine drive in the world about 80 km. For this reason, at present, Cox’s Bazar is the most visited tourism place of Bangladesh.
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Saint Martin: This is the only one coral island in Bangladesh. It has another name also, Narikel Jinjira, Daruchini Dip. Now this place has been a popular attraction of local and foreign tourists in Bangladesh. One can reach St Martin from Teknaf within few hours. The number of visitors is increasing year by year.
Kuakata: Kuakata is located in Kalapara upazila, Potuakhali district. It has an excellent view of sunrise and sunset from the same beach in the water of Bay of Bengal. This beach’s area is about 18 km. This sandy beach has gentle slope into Bay of Bengal. Many migratory birds come in Kuakata for staying. Because of poor transport facilities, this place has very few visitors. The government should take care of this.
Fisheries is a very significant issue for a country like Bangladesh where it has a large number of river and ocean. We are third highest fish production country in the world. Bangladesh with its inland waters and river systems has significant capture fishery and agriculture potential. This fisheries sector plays a very important role in the national economy contributing 3.69% to the GDP of the country and 22.60% to the agriculture GDP (FRSS, 2016). Fisheries can play bigger role in our GDP by using our sea. We have now large area of sea. Now we have an open door for catching fish. This area adds 450 types fish in our list. That is huge. We can earn money by exporting them. The amount takes the export earnings in the first seven months of fiscal 2017-18 to $353.99 million (Daily Star). Now we can increase the number more.
On land side we have main natural resources are fish and gas. We talk about fish the previous paragraph. And we have a massive side about gas-oil block. On land area we have 23 blocks of gas-oil. And we are using this for our daily work. We are now losing their quantity. But sea brings us a big side about this. Ocean gives us 26 blocks of gas-oil. But we have a little problem. We have now 49 blocks of gas (Petrobangla). But we have no enough perfect people for recovering this gas. So, we can’t use them right now. But now we can get smile on our face. Because govt. gives importance on this sector. If we can get this, this can make new skyline for our country.
Shipping is now going to be another successful business sector for Bangladesh. We have now very good rate in ship-building and ship-breaking sector. We can make our own warship from our shipyard. And last year we export ship. We have earned a lot of money. And also, we have done a flourishing movement in ship-breaking sector. We have now 3 shipyards, they are Anandya shipyard, Khulna shipyard, and Chattrogram shipyard. But we have many obstacles in this sector. If we can remove these problems, this sector can be a great business sector for us.
At this moment, Bangladesh needs to create more awareness about blue economy. Because sea or ocean which name is Bay of Bengal is ours. It’s water, fish, oil-gas block everything is ours. Many people’s life is directly related with ocean. If we can make awareness and can utilize this sector properly, this can change the life of Bangladeshi people. The blue economy can be one of the possible solutions for Bangladesh for achieving its goal. From analyses, we can see our sea production is increasing. It is a good sign for our country. But frequent flood is damaging the possibilities blue economy of Bangladesh. Without having well-trained, skilled, educated human resources in different marine industries, sustainable and dynamic blue economy can’t be possible for any country.
Government should take future policy frame work for the success of the blue economy which may focus structural collaboration. Capacity building of maritime forces, namely Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard, are other prerequisites to ensure safer seas for the seafarers of tomorrow. Many bad persons are walking with us. From them, we need to protect our sea and blue economy.
- Ajker Bisso: Golam Mostofa Kiron. 97 edition.
- Daily Star. “January Export Earnings Highest in 5 Months”. Published April 5, 2019.
- Fayaz Zamal, Sachalayatan.com, 28/3/2012. ‘Bangladesh Vs Myanmar Maritime Boundary Dispute, Verdict: A Brief Summary’. FRSS: Fast Response Survey System.
- Petrobangla: https://www.petrobangla.org.bd/
- UNCLOS: United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS): Official Text, United Nations, New York, 1983, p.17.