Let the sea resources remain as they are20 November 2022
Despite the fact that Bangladesh has huge economic prospects in its sea territory, the country is way behind in exploring its maritime potentials. Experts say Bangladesh can earn USD 1 billion a year from the sea. Very little of the country's sea potentials had been utilised so far. There is no doubt that Bangladesh needs improvements in science, technology and innovation to explore all the possibilities in sea.
Having said that, we add when the government is fast losing its ground with no warm cooperation from the outside world, it would be futile for it to seek Portuguese investments and expertise in the blue economy, as has been reported by newspapers Saturday. Indeed the country is badly in need of power, but exploring offshore wind power generation with the help of Portugal is not the option now. This government must go first.
Bangladesh's area of the sea was settled long ago, first with Myanmar in 2012 followed by a sea area dispute with India in 2014. But all these years have elapsed without taking any serious measures to harness the sea potentials. To get the maximum benefit from our seabed, it is necessary to develop our own professional manpower and build up enough technological bases to explore the sea on our own in future.
For encouraging pace of economic development, harnessing marine resources can be crucial. In 2016, Bangladesh procured a high-tech 37.8-meter long multipurpose research vessel to survey the marine resources from Malaysia. At that time we were informed that equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and other oceanographic research, this vessel could play a role in managing marine resources and improving the lifestyle of around five lakh people living in coastal areas who depend on fishing. We do not know what this vessel has done so far for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh possesses 118,813 square kilometers of waters comprising territorial sea, exclusive economic zone extending out to 200 NM across a sizable area. The country has also achieved undeniable sovereign rights in the seabed extending as far as 354 NM from Chattogram coast in the Bay of Bengal with all the living and non-living resources. To advance the country's economy, utilisation of its sea resources is absolutely necessary, but this government is not trusted to handle these resources because of its wrong policy and massive corruption during the last decade that has turned the country's bright economic prospect into its present nightmare.