Property Rights and Access: the Case of Community Based Fisheries Management in Bangladesh

  •  Gazi Islam    
  •  Tai Yew    


The revenue oriented approach has not been able to involve poor fishers in the inland fisheries management in Bangladesh. A community-based fisheries management (CBFM-2) approach was implemented over a period of 6 years (2001-2006) to improve access to fishing rights of the poor and to improve productivity as well as sustainability of fisheries resources. This study investigates the changes in fisher’s access to livelihoods in the various types of water bodies such as closed beels (deeper depressions in the floodplain), open beels (lake), rivers and floodplains to enhance their livelihoods. Data for the study was obtained from two questionnaire-based field surveys conducted by the Bangladesh CBFM project office: a baseline study carried out in 2002 and an impact study in mid-2006. A total of 2,826 households were randomly selected from several regions in Bangladesh, comprising 1,994 households at 34 (51%) CBFM project water bodies and 832 households at 10 (59%) control water bodies. This study found that the CBFM fishers have obtained greater access to fisheries and improved livelihoods than non-CBFM fishers. The fishers have now changed their attitudes, have greater awareness of fisheries rules and are able to resolve conflicts much easier in the CBFM water bodies. Long term access rights over fisheries resources should be considered as the priority for a sustainable inland fishery and livelihoods of fishers in Bangladesh.

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