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June 5, 2015

Bangladesh

An Editorial from the Country’s Leading English Language Newspaper

 

   

 

The negative effect of shrimp farming on the environment and the people is becoming a major concern in southwestern Bangladesh.  Despite the financial gains from local marketing and exports, the present method of shrimp farming is fraught with dangers.  Local experts believe the financial benefits will prove very costly for the livelihood of millions of people in the region.  The absence of a national policy and strategy on sustainable shrimp farming is identified as the fundamental problem.  The National Shrimp Farming Policy of 2014 is largely blamed for not bringing about the desired changes in shrimp farming methods.

 

It is generally recognized that the salinity-prone southern region of the country is fast turning into an arid, infertile area due to increased salinity in agricultural lands caused by marine shrimp farms.  Salinity increases have already rendered thousands of people jobless, destroyed crops, ended livestock farming and reduced the prospects of other farm activities.  At a recent roundtable deliberation held in the capital, Dhaka, threats of irresponsible shrimp farming were highlighted by the participants.  Speakers there pointed to the fact that most of the problems are caused by the shrimp farming industry’s emphasis on profits, while ignoring the adverse effects on the environment, people, agriculture and public health.  Studies have shown that shrimp farming’s hard cash goes to the rich, while the people pay the social and economic costs in the wake of shrimp farming.

 

There is an unquestionable need to formulate policies to ensure a departure from the on-going practice of shrimp farming around human habitats and agricultural lands and also to use scientific methods that do not disrupt traditional farming and the livelihood of farmers.

 

The signs of damage are clear: deterioration of soil and water quality, depletion of mangrove forest, decreases in local varieties of rice and fish, salt water intrusion in ground water and water pollution.  An appropriate strategy has to be developed to deal with these problems—all caused by current shrimp farming methods.

 

Source: The Financial Express.  Editorial: Need for Sustainable Shrimp Cultivation.  June 5, 2015.

 

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