January 2012: The inaugral ceremony of Commercial Fish Harvesting under the Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor project took place in late January with more than 1500 community people (including 300 women) and government officials in attendance.
The ceremony was attended by special guests including The Deputy Commissioner In Charge Mr. Md. Kamrul Alam as Chief Guest, Mr. Jafar Alam, Director of Department of Environment, Mr. Kazi Monirul Islam, Deputy Chief of the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Mr. Farid Hasan Ahmed, Senior Programme Officer of SDC as guests of honour.
During the official presentation many of the guest speakers expressed their desire to provide continual support for the project provided the community continued to show commitment, participation and enthusiasm. Mr. Kazi Monirul Islam, Deputy Chief of the Ministry of Environment and Forest reiterated the commitment of the government to establish a co-management model of Ramsar site management in Tanguar Haor. Mr. Jafar Alam, Director of Department of Environment further stressed the importance of maintaining ecological integrity of resources which will ultimately benefit the community an ensure the management system is sustainable. The comments were met with enthusiasm from community leaders who expressed their continued support of the project.
The official presentations were followed by a practical demonstration of fish harvesting where local fishermen caught 124.7 Kg of fish which symbolised to guests the strength of Commercial Fish Harvesting in Tanguar Haor.
Progress to date
The Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor project has proven to be a successful project to date with collaborative work between the community, district administration, law enforcers and local staff. Through practical demonstration and practice of fish resource harvesting by the community as well as associated management and close watch on illegal fishing in the Tanguar Haor by Project Staff the project has produced not only financial benefits for the community but also increased fish numbers in the region.
Financially, Commercial Fish Harvesting (CFH) has proven to be an important community event for the people of Tanguar Haor due to the valuable cash resource and vital source of earnings that fish provide both individuals and the community as a whole. In 2012, the community are expecting to harvest fish worth nearly Taka 1 Crore, a significant increase from 2011 when it was less than 7 lakhs,
Under CFH all participatory parties benefit, for example the fishermen receive 40% iof the accured benefit and all other professional members receive 36% of the accured benefit (indirectly through the Central Co-management Committee fund).
One of the major issues faced throughout this project is the continual practice of illegal fishing. A residental facility has been established under the CFH camp to ease this practice. The facility allows for greater efficiency, improvement management of resources and increased logistical support (i.e improved access to speed boats and access to petrol) for magistrates of duty in Tanguar Haor, ANSAR, police, community leaders and project staff to undertake their duties and to patrol the area.
Further, to help promote the benefits of CFH in Tanguar Haor the Deputy Commissioner of Sunamganj has distributed a leaflet to community members which encourages them to conserve ecology, stop illegal fishing and to join the fish harvesting campaign.
Future success of the project requires continued support and joint coordinated effort between all parties. Through field level demonstration, practice, learning, implementation and monitoring of resource management the following activities can be acheived:
- Operations of the Information Centre
- Annual participatory updating of existing PRMP
- Facilitate linking with existing reputed agencies
- Review and refine the Resource Sharing Concept developed in Phase-I and testing it on a larger scale and obtaining stakeholder agreement for its operation
- Documenting the experiences and dissemination
- Enriching of Fish habitat
- Monitoring of Haor sustainability established
- Capacity building of community and staff
The implementation of these activities will assist in ensuring successful community based sustainiable management of the Tanguar Haor.