Marine fisheries are an important national resource as the natural gas, coal and oil deposits and also include coastal area, marine area, mangroves and the only coral island. Lack of proper exploitation, conservation and sustainable management measures is hampering its development. Intense exploitation with high fishing efforts is the present trend of marine fishery resources. There had been about 258% increase in fishing efforts since the start of mechanized fishing in 1975-76. Artisanal fishers complain about decline in catch per unit effort (CPUE) for mechanized and non-mechanized boats using medium to large-meshed gill nets and becoming non-remunerative. Shrimp trawlers as well are experiencing declining CPUE and are currently concentrating in shallow waters and often come in conflict with artisanal boats.
Historically artisanal fisheries are the major contributor of marine and coastal fisheries in Bangladesh. Artisanal fishing operations in the estuaries and coastal waters used to be carried out by traditional wooden non-mechanized craft until the mid 1960s. At present total annual fish production is 3.062 million tons of which inland catch is 25,15,354 t (82.16%) which mainly comes from substantial inland water resources that provide freshwater fish from aquaculture and capture fisheries. While marine catch is 5,46,333 t (17.84%). Out of marine catch industrial catch based on trawl fishery is 41,665 t (7.6%) and artisanal catch is 5,04,668 t (92.4%). A characteristic of artisanal fisheries in the BoB region is the low volume of discards, since almost all components of the catch are consumed.
Production of marine fish has increased steadily for the last few years, indicating a viable alternative for more fish production to meet the demand of the vast population of the country. Recently Bangladesh has established her right for exploration, exploitation, conservation and management on the additional area of about 111,000 km2 after resolving the maritime boundary disputes with Myanmar and hopefully this will fetch more marine fish catch in the future.