AMBIO

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 20–29 | Cite as

Fishing for Prawn Larvae in Bangladesh: An Important Coastal Livelihood Causing Negative Effects on the Environment

Review Paper

Abstract

Freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) farming in Bangladesh has, to a large extent, been dependent on the supply of wild larvae. Although there are 81 freshwater prawn hatcheries in the country, a lack of technical knowledge, inadequate skilled manpower, and an insufficient supply of wild broods have limited hatchery production. Many thousands of coastal poor people, including women, are engaged in fishing for wild prawn larvae along the coastline during a few months each year. On average, 40% of the total yearly income for these people comes from prawn larvae fishing activity. However, indiscriminate fishing of wild larvae, with high levels of bycatch of juvenile fish and crustaceans, may impact negatively on production and biodiversity in coastal ecosystems. This concern has provoked the imposition of restrictions on larvae collection. The ban has, however, not been firmly enforced because of the limited availability of hatchery-raised larvae, the lack of an alternative livelihood for people involved in larvae fishing, and weak enforcement power. This article discusses the environmental and social consequences of prawn larvae fishing and concludes that, by increasing awareness among fry fishers, improving fishing techniques (reducing bycatch mortality), and improving the survival of fry in the market chain, a temporal ban may be a prudent measure when considering the potential negative impacts of bycatch. However, it also suggests that more research is needed to find out about the impact of larvae fishing on nontarget organisms and on the populations of targeted species.

Keywords

Prawn Larvae Fishing Coastal Environment Bangladesh 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study was funded by the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology, the Government of Bangladesh. We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fisheries ManagementBangladesh Agricultural UniversityMymensinghBangladesh
  2. 2.Beijer Institute of Ecological EconomicsRoyal Swedish Academy of SciencesStockholmSweden

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