Dhaka has sought support from the global community to help develop an integrated plan for protecting marine resources, according to a document of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju made the request at the “Our Ocean 2016” conference in Washington, D.C. held on September 15 to 16.
“For proper management of the Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area (SoNG-MPA), Bangladesh needs technical and financial assistance to prepare an integrated management plan and its implementation,” the minister said while presenting Bangladesh’s government initiatives to protect marine resources.
Manju said that it is the best time for planning about the resources, prospects and proper management of ocean, seas and marine resources across the world, including the vast coastal area in Bangladesh, which covers an area of around 20,996 squire miles and marine waters of roughly 166,000 squire kilometers.
He said the marine waters of Bangladesh support among the world’s most diverse and largest remaining populations of dolphins, porpoises, whales, sharks, rays and marine turtles including numerous species at global conservation risk.
The minister said Bangladesh currently also supports relatively large population of Ocean Giants, those are threatened by fatal entanglements in fishing gears and increasing salinity and changes in current patterns due to climate change.
“To protect Ocean Giants from extinction, the government of Bangladesh declared its first marine protected area in 1,738 squire kilometer of shallow estuarine waters offshore of the Sundarbans mangrove forest and deep marine waters at the head of the Swatch-of-No-Ground submarine canyon,” he said.
He said by establishing marine protected areas the government is helping to provide a global safety-net for Ocean Giants threatened with extinction in the absence of conservation action.
The marine protected area was established for the long-term protection of cetaceans that inhabit waters offshore of Bangladesh, he noted.
At the conference, the minister also announced that Bangladesh would be working with 53 countries to promote conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, reports BSS.