The World Bank has agreed to provide $240m to the Bangladesh government in order to help improve its management and production in marine and coastal fisheries and aquaculture.

Funding will be used for the Sustainable and Marine Fisheries project, which has been created to improve fisheries management systems, infrastructure, value chain investments.

The project aims to encourage private sector investment to increase the availability and quality of sea fish, as well as support reforms in fisheries policies and regulations.

World Bank Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal country director Qimiao Fan said: “In the last decade, the fisheries sector accounted for around 4% of Bangladesh’s economy and is the country’s second-largest export earning sector after garments.

“World Bank financing will aim to expand coastal fisheries with the goal of further increasing the fisheries sector’s contribution to the economy.”

“World Bank financing will aim to expand coastal fisheries with the goal of further increasing the fisheries sector’s contribution to the economy.”

The financing agreement was signed by Bangladesh Economic Relations Division senior secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam on behalf of the government and World Bank Bangladesh acting country director Zahid Hussain.

Under the sustainable and marine fisheries project, community co-management associations will be established in 16 coastal districts, enabling them to adopt supplementary and alternative livelihoods.

The project will also help the government to conduct stock surveys and assessments for shrimp and sea fish stocks in order to strengthen monitoring systems for industrial and artisanal fisheries.

Azam said: “For Bangladesh, the fisheries sector is a major driver for growth. The marine and coastal fisheries have significant potential for sustainable and higher production. The project will directly contribute to Bangladesh’s Blue Economy initiatives.”