World Fish Center for Bangladesh and South Asia with funding from the Norwegian Research Council, organized the workshop “Hilsa: Potential for Aquaculture”, in Dhaka September 16-17. With representatives from India, Myanmar and the Norwegian Institute for Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture (NOFEMA), as well as a number of Bangladeshi experts, the regional workshop is a yard stick in the process of developing hilsa fish farming. The presence of the Bangladeshi Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Mr Abdul Latif Biswas, underlined the importance of the event.
Norway is a world-leading country in aquatic food production, with state of the art technology and expertise in overcoming breeding problems. The workshop marked the initiation of South Asia - Norwegian cooperation on hilsa. As a special guest, the Norwegian Ambassador Ragne Birte Lund highlighted the shared goals of the countries and potential contribution of Norwegian involvement. “This project will contribute to closer contacts and collaboration between institutions and stakeholders in this region in search of a solution for a new industry that can respond to the market demand and address major nutritional needs. It can bring great social, economic and environmental benefits”, said Lund, who especially emphasized the potential of hilsa for improved food security.
Ambassador Ragne Birte Lund (to the left) and Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Mr Abdul Latif Biswas (to the right). Photo: Arne Haug
Hilsa is the national fish of Bangladesh, and represents an asset to 250 million people including the poor segments of population in the region. Its high nutritional content also makes it extremely popular in the region. This has unfortunately led to overfishing and habitat degradation, making the future availability of the nutritious fish a cause for concern. In a context of food security issues and increasing demand, this constitutes both necessity and opportunity for breeding. In this setting, the main objective of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders from the research, academic and fishing communities in the region, as well as establishing a research and development consortium with the Norwegian science community.
Also Minster Biswas and other guests commended the initiative and stressed the importance of sound and sustainable management of the fisheries and the necessity of better regional cooperation.
Ambassador Ragne Birte Lund together with the NOFEMA representatives. Photo: Arne Haug
In addition to the workshop itself, the Ambassador held separate meetings with NOFEMA representatives and the Bangladeshi Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Hon’able Mr Md. Abdul Latif Biswas. The dialogue will continue during the Minister’s visit to Norway from the 27th of September.
Link to the speech delivered by Ambassador Ragne Birte Lund