The potential of the blue economy remains largely untapped

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Bangladesh is equipped to fish to a maximum depth of 100 meters, or within a radius of just 60 square kilometers off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, where the country has exclusive rights to approximately 118,813 square kilometers.

Thus, Bangladesh’s share in world fish production is limited to only 2.6 percent.

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And despite a seaside border, there is still a huge amount of offshore oil and gas that just remains out of reach.

Although several plans were made in this regard, none of them saw the light of day.

Myanmar, on the other hand, has already started extracting mineral resources near the Bangladesh maritime block.

Khurshed Alam, Secretary of the Maritime Affairs Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted these issues during the presentation of the guidance document during a workshop at the office of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry. (FBCCI) yesterday.

The country’s umbrella trade body and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) jointly organized the workshop, titled “Blue Economy and Action Plan”.

“Not only for fishery or mineral resources, but rather for the ocean economy which concerns all ocean-based industries, can change the whole economy of Bangladesh,” Alam said.

Using marine resources, industries in Bangladesh such as tourism, shipbuilding and demolition, deep sea fishing, medicine and cosmetics could be further developed.

Bangladesh’s oceanic economic zone is equal to 81 percent of its continent.

“There are 1.5 lakh of ships carrying cargo by sea around the world in an industry worth around $ 9 billion, but Bangladesh only has 70 seagoing vessels,” he said. -he adds.

The “blue economy” is a potential new sector for investment in Bangladesh, according to Salman F Rahman, the Prime Minister’s private industry and investment advisor.

“It is possible to export billions of dollars from this sector in the next few years,” he said.

Rahman advised FBCCI and BIDA to work together to find out why progress in the nascent shipbuilding industry has slowed and to correct political strategy.

“Along with the plan for the use of marine economy, the policy for the conservation of these resources should also be adopted,” said AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem, deputy minister of water resources.

“An international conference on investment will be held from November 26 to 29 and the blue economy will be discussed separately at this conference,” said Sirajul Islam, executive chairman of BIDA.

The maritime economy could play an effective role in attracting foreign investment and creating jobs once Bangladesh also graduates from the least developed United Nations group in 2026.

“The FBCCI will submit recommendations to the government to determine sector strategies on the issues discussed at the workshop,” said Jashim Uddin, President of the FBCCI.

“There is no disagreement over the potential of this sector but still there are no plans,” said Khandaker Golam Moazzem, advisor to the FBCCI panel.

“There are also doubts about who is the custodian of this sector, so instead of different ministries working separately, if BIDA takes charge, quick benefits could be obtained,” Moazzem added.

The growth of the global economy over the next 10 to 20 years will be centered on the blue economy, according to AK Enamul Haque, professor at East West University.

He called for investing in tourism, shipbuilding, shipbreaking, fishing, ports and maritime equipment to harness the blue economy.

However, he urged to eliminate political discrimination between foreign and local entrepreneurs.

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