before stocking, in order to ensure the removal of competitors. Again, the impact of this on natural fish population and the
wider environment is as yet unknown.
Habitat destruction: Flood control, drainage and irrigation projects have been designed to meet two key strategic objectives
of the Bangladesh government: to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters caused by seasonal flooding, and to produce
sufficient food for its growing population. These projects are effectively transforming the flood plains into dry land. Whilst the
green revolution (started in the 1960s) has succeeded in placing rice self-sufficiency within reach, a parallel (but more
recent) blue revolution in aquaculture (since the 1980s) has boosted the production of fish cash crops. The flood
embankments, which restrict flooding, also restrict the seasonal migrations of fish essential for their reproduction and growth
and the drying out of the flood plain has reduced their range. In southern Bangladesh, the inundation of vast areas by saline
water for shrimp aquaculture has also had a major impact on the freshwater ecosystem, raising the question of whether such
short-term benefits can be justified at the expense of Bangladesh's heritage and the long-term development of its population.
Pollution: The green revolution depends on intensive use of agrochemicals such as fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. As
a consequence, run off from the fields contain high levels of pollutants, exerting a considerable influence on aquatic
resources. Waste from agricultural processing (e.g. jute retting), industry and municipal waste dumping is also contributing to
Whilst the boom in agriculture and aquaculture has placed food self-sufficiency close to the target, it is debatable how
sustainable the respective green and blue revolutions are, and how equitably their benefits are distributed.
Thus, for most people, pond-produced fishes are outside their economic reach, and are nutritionally less valuable than
traditional SIS. Because of the way it is eaten" farmed carps have a relatively low Vitamin-A and calcium content.
Furthermore, carps take at least 4-6 months to grow, whilst SIS may be continually harvested.
Rationale, Aims, Objectives and Methodology of the Study
SIS raise major issues of concern but receive insufficient attention. There is a need to focus more attention on identifying and
understanding the requisite social arrangements and environmental conditions for sustaining SIS. The study sets out to
provide understanding of the current context and to identify options for action and research.
Aims and Objectives The study was carried out in order to:
• assess the existing knowledge on and status of SIS; the contribution it makes to society; its ecological niche and
relative importance in the ecosystem;
• assess the contribution of social (local/traditional) and scientific knowledge, and indigenous practices in managing
freshwater aquatic resources - particularly SIS.
• present the research findings to policy-makers' as a contribution to sustainable open water fisheries management;
to researchers and academicians to assist in their research; to planners and practitioners to assist in formulating
strategies for sustainable fisheries management.
The outputs planned included:
• an inventory of freshwater SIS;
• the identification of SIS under threat, extinct, declining, vulnerable etc.
• identify the environmental requirements (habitats etc.) and characteristics of SIS;
• the identification of causes of SIS' decline, and proposals for actions to halt/reverse such declines;
• the identification of options for aquatic resource management, and provision of recommendations for managing
SIS resources sustainably.
The study is based on a review of secondary data sources, and the use of rapid/participative rural appraisal (PRA) to gauge
stakeholders' awareness of SIS related issues. Given the time constraint, the methodology was designed to be flexible. The
particular methodology was chosen to enable easy interpretation of scientific information, social perceptions of the
interconnections between human society, the environment, and the use of freshwater resources for food and livelihood.