Policy Advice: SEAT in Bangladesh

In the final few months of the project, SEAT’s findings and lessons learnt from the project, were presented to policy makers, stakeholders and private enterprises at meetings in Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam.

On the 29th August in Dhaka, Bangladesh, SEAT researchers Dr. Jason Weeks (CEFAS), Prof. Dave Little (University of Stirling) and local Partners Prof. Wahab and Dr. Mahfujul Haque (both, Bangladesh Agricultural University) presented advice from the SEAT project to policy makers and other stakeholders in Bangladeshi aquaculture. The full list of attendees at this meeting included two representatives from the UN’s FAO office in Dhaka, a representative from the WorldFish Centre, a member of the NGO the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF), the Director of the Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association, the Director of Bangladesh’s Department of Fisheries (Syed Arif Azad; DoF) and two further representatives from the Fish Inspection and Quality Control (FIQC) department of the DoF.

The delegates of the Bangladesh Policy meeting

The delegates of the Bangladesh Policy meeting

Held at the offices of the Director General of the DoF, the meeting began with Prof. Little introducing the project and its background. Dr. Weeks then presented on the development progress of Ethical Aquaculture Food Index (EAFI), a sustainability decision support tool. This key output of the project is being generated using SEAT’s huge amount of research, conducted over the last four and half years. The meeting provided a perfect platform to explain its potential uses as well as receive feedback from Bangldeshi stakeholders. After the initial explanations, the policy makers began to understand how the EAFI aims to encompass all issues surrounding seafood production and trade in Bangladesh. It is hoped that this will then help them to make policy for sustainable seafood production and trade.

Prof. Little presenting the background to SEAT

Prof. Little presenting the background to SEAT

Also in the meeting, the SEAT researchers provided the DoF with advise based on the project’s research. This included the advice for the Bangladesh seafood sector not to introduce Vannamei (shrimp species) but instead stick with and emphasize the positive aspects of P. Monodon (locally called Bagda) culture.

After the presentations, Syed Arif Azad, the Director General, Department of Fisheries (DoF), one of the key policy stakeholders spoke for the Bangladesh Government. He explained that they are also working on the improvement of seafood production and trade, particularly to improve productivity, food safety and traceability of Bangladeshi Seafood. It was stressed that the EAFI would contribute to the seafood production and trade in this regard. Another of the participants, Syed Mahmudul Huq, of the BSFF, invited Prof. Little, and Dr. Mahfujul Haque , to visit his office in Dhaka on the following day. In the following discussion, there were many positive responses to the EAFI and the overall SEAT research activities. He with his NGO, the BSFF, showed great interest in the use of SEAT research outcomes and the possibility of working together with the SEAT team in near future.

Dr. Weeks presenting on the EAFI

Dr. Weeks presenting on the EAFI

Photo © Loni Hensler