Bangladesh has gained rights to its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under provisions of UNCLOS and recent verdicts of international courts. Its maritime border disputes with neighboring states Myanmar and India have been settled through these arbitrations, and the actual spatial extent of the country’s EEZ for the first time has emerged through this process in 2014. Its EEZ is estimated to be approximately 118,000 km2. Following these events, the attention of the government to ocean governance and development of the Blue Economy has reached its peak in subsequent years, and political will at the highest levels of the government is at its anytime high. Consequently, ocean management has been incorporated for the first time in the country’s 7th Five‐year Plan (2016‐2020), and an inter-ministry coordination unit called the “Blue Economy Cell” has been established for its implementation.
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Tens of millions of people live in its coastal zones and use the coastal and marine waters for their livelihood. Situated on a concave shoreline, Bangladesh has been granted rights to a narrow cone in the Bay of Bengal, while renewed interests in sustainable Blue Economy activities in the sea in the form of mining, fishing, mariculture, renewable energy development, maritime trade, tourism, artisanal and industrial fishing, marine conservation areas, offshore engineering, ship building and ship and recycling, are very likely to give rise to conflicting and/or competing sea uses. Hence MSP is viewed as an essential guiding framework in the development process of the Blue Economy. At this early stage, there is still no formal MSP in place. Moreover, geospatial data support for an MSP is not well developed. The Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries (IMSF) of the University of Chittagong, engaged in marine sciences education and research since the country’s independence in 1971, has started building the spatial databases from all available sources including its own research surveys for supporting the country’s future MSP needs. In 2014, the Institute has published the first marine area map of the country called “Maritime Province of Bangladesh” to support greater public understanding of the sea space it owns and its uses. In 2017, the second edition of the map has been published with greater emphasis on supporting Blue Economy objectives. An Interactive web‐based marine atlas is also under development.
Updates will be posted on this website as MSP activities in Bangladesh develop.