Huge potentials of blue economy
Farhad Chowdhury: As a huge water area, the various resources of the sea are used for the welfare of people, and new doors of economy are opened. In the modern world, people’s unseen or unknown marine resources are known as blue economy. In the context of facing future challenges and reality, Blue Economy is becoming increasingly popular in the world. In the meantime, the developed countries of the world have been able to make radical changes in economic growth by exploiting marine resources. However, the sea of Bangladesh is still largely intact from that point of view. Bangladesh is seeing a new dream around marine economy. And Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute is working on the research of blue economy.
There are many unknown resources including mineral resources, fish and animal resources, water resources and energy resources in the sea of more than 118,813 square kilometers of Bangladesh.
It is known that there are a total of 475 species of fish in the Bay of Bengal. Where there are 36 species of shrimp, 20 species of crabs, 336 species of snails and oysters in addition to various types of economic and biologically important resources. Apart from fish resources, the Bay of Bengal is also full of marine animals, seaweeds and vines. Medicines for various diseases can be prepared by processing these weeds. The weed called Spirulina is consumed as food by people in China, Japan and various European countries. Researchers say that it is possible to earn a lot of foreign currency by exporting marine food products to meet the needs of the country. Besides, about 40 trillion cubic feet of gas can be obtained from the 22 blocks that Bangladesh got after sea conquest with India and Myanmar.
Very valuable heavy minerals including ilmenite, titanium oxide, rutile, zircon, magnetite, cobalt have been discovered in the Bay of Bengal. If these assets can be extracted in the right way, it will be possible to earn foreign exchange worth thousands of rupees or more. At the same time, there is an opportunity to enrich the shipbuilding industry.
The government wants to radically change the economy by using marine resources to revolutionize the blue economy in the country. For this purpose, ‘Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute’ has been constructed on a 40-acre area next to the Marine Drive road in Ramu, Cox’s Bazar. According to the project stakeholders, the proposal to establish the institute on 4 acres of land was presented in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). Later, on the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the amount of land was increased by 10 times, instead of 4 acres, an initiative was taken to establish it with a laboratory and a marine aquarium on 40 acres. The activities of Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute started with the completion of the project in December 2017.
With the slogan ‘Ocean Research, Nation’s Welfare’, the institute is conducting research through six departments namely Physical and Space, Geological, Chemical, Biological, Environment and Climate. 5 research programs have been implemented in 2017-18, 6 in 2018-19, 12 in 2019-20, 8 in 2020-21, 7 in 2021-22 and 7 in 2022-23. The institute’s multi-faceted research on marine resources is helping to open the door to the immense potential of the Sunil economy.
In the Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute, it has been seen on the ground, the second floor of the building built near the hill has been kept various types of fish, crabs, snails-mussels, seaweeds and other marine resources research materials. There is a modern laboratory. Where there is research on various unknown subjects of the sea. According to the research institute, Bangladesh’s marine resources are largely intact. A few things are emerging from the research. The country’s economy will reach unique heights if marine resources can be utilized on a large scale.
According to the information of the institute, the coastal area of Bangladesh is divided into three parts namely East, Central and West. Within these three zones, the water and sand of the eastern area (Cox’s Bazar to St. Martin) and the nearby coast have been analyzed. At the same time, efforts are being made to identify existing resources by determining geological parameters. According to the results of the research, a significant amount of 8-18 heavy minerals (minerals) were found in Cox’s Bazar sea area. 72 species of seaweed have been identified by testing the samples collected by the ship, indicating the immense potential of the blueeconomy.
The institute’s research activities include collection of physical, chemical, biological, geological oceanography and rail data on water column parameters of the East Coast and adjacent seas. Research has been conducted to determine coastal pollution and determine erosion processes. Extraction of commercial products from seaweed, evaluation of marine crab farming methods, identification and distribution of king crabs are investigated.
In addition, marine geological surveys have been completed to determine heavy mineral and sediment distribution processes in an area of approximately 7,500 square kilometers of the eastern coastal sea area. The distribution and economic use of jellyfish in the Bay of Bengal have been quantified. Upwelling zones and sea stratification are determined to locate potential fishing areas in coastal marine areas. More than 60 species of corals have been identified on the island of St. Martin. Besides, mapping has been done to identify areas suitable for marine fish production by mariculture (marine aquaculture).
Officials of the Oceanographic Institute said that under the short-term plan for the development of the Blue Economy, mineral resources, geological, physical, chemical and biological elements have been identified in an area of about 5000 square kilometers from St. Martin Island to Qutubdia near the east coast of the country. An initiative has been taken to set up a marine aquarium in Cox’s Bazar under the medium-term plan. Seashore oil spills, marine aquaculture (mariculture), food quality of crabs and oysters etc. are being tested. Deep sea mineral resource identification and research is being done under the long-term plan.
The government will soon provide a special ship to speed up research at sea. Then another dimension will be added to the research, said the officials of the research institute.
Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute senior scientific officer Abu Sharif Mahbub-e-Kibria told Daily Industry that there is no information about our sea area in the studies of different countries. That is, the vast sea area that we have is largely intact. The current government has taken various steps to research the marine area. Various researches on ocean are going on through research institutes.
Bangladesh has already been included as a pilot country for the implementation of Blue Economy. We are conducting various studies and the results of the studies are making us more optimistic.
He said, soon an own ship will be added for research. Then we can work better. We believe that the amount of minerals, oil, gas, fish and other resources in our sea area will take the country’s economy to unique heights.
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