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CLP ‘0217810: Assessing the considerable human elements in the proposed sanctuaries forconserving threatened freshwater dolphins in the Sundarbans, BangladeshProject location: Sundarbans mangrove forest, BangladeshField work: August – December 2010Conserving threatened freshwater dolphins through ensuring a sustainable management plan ofaquatic resources in the Sundarbans, BangladeshAuthors: Emile Mahabub (Team leader), Shaikh Tareq Arafat, Delip Kumar Das, ShaikhShahidul Islam, Mohammed Rafiqul Islam, Razib Chandra Bhowmick, Muhammad AbiarRahmanAddress: 221, Boro Mogbazar, Peyarabag Railgate, [email protected] completed in January, 2012

CLP’0217810January, 2012AcknowledgementThe team expresses their sincere gratitude to the Conservation Leadership Programme forproviding the funds that enabled this research. We would like to especially thank Robyn Dalzen,Stuart Paterson, Kiragu Mwangi, Julie Jackson, Lynn Duda and Christina Imrich from theConservation Leadership Programme for their support of this project.The team is grateful to Brian D. Smith, Project Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’sBangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project (BCDP), for providing valuable technical advice. Wewould also like to thank the BCDP team members; Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli, Elisabeth FahrniMansur and Zahangir Alom for their guidance.Moreover, the team is thankful to The Guide Tours Ltd. for providing logistics support duringthe field work and facilitating financial transactions.i

CLP’0217810January, 2012Executive SummaryAn intensive socio-economic study was conducted among the fishermen living in closeproximity to the proposed sanctuaries using dolphin entangling gears. The study alsodocumented catches from dolphin entangling gears and analyzed by-catch rate of two commonlyseen shrimp larvae collecting gears. After the one year of study the team managed to find out thatmajority of the interviewed fishermen earn very low and the income level generally increasedamong the fishermen who has completed their primary level of education (5 years). It was seenfrom the study that the villagers generally have a positive attitude towards dolphin and appreciatethem for their beauty. The also managed to find out that the multiple middlemen in the fishmarket chain earns majority of the benefits and the actual fishermen earns very little from theirwork. The interviewed fishermen depend fully on fisheries during the wet season and only aminor percentage of the interviewed fishermen have a secondary occupation during the rest ofseasons.The team has managed to assist the existing dolphin project to develop a recommendation planfor the proposed sanctuaries and some of the team members are continuing their involvement indolphin conservation and expecting to increase their capacity.ii

CLP’0217810January, 2012Table of Content1.Introduction.11.1 Team members . 42.Aim and objectives .63.Methodology .73.1 Planning . 73.2 Training . 73.3 Field work . 83.3.1 Estimating the contribution of fisheries in local livelihood and socio-economic status of thefishing communities . 83.3.2 Assessing the CPUE of fishing gears known for dolphin entanglement . 83.3.3 Investigating sustainable method for collecting shrimp larvae inside the Sundarbans . 93.3.4 Strengthening the capacity of the team members and local communities . 93.44.Analyses . 9Outputs and results .94.1 Number of gears and people involved in fisheries. 94.2 Socio-economic status of the fishermen and contribution of fisheries in their livelihood . 124.3 Prevailing fish market chain . 144.4 Perceptions of local people regarding dolphins and reported dolphin entanglements . 154.5 Catch per unit effort (CPUE) of the focused fishing gears . 184.6 Shrimp larvae collection and the by-catch rate. 194.7 Strengthening the capacity of the team members and the local communities . 205.Achievements and impacts . 216.Conclusion. 227.Problems encountered and lessons learned . 238.Future activities . 249.References . 2510. Distribution list . 28Appendix 1: Datasheets and questionnaires . 29iii

CLP’0217810January, 20121.1 Questionnaire for fishermen in the proposed wildlife sanctuaries . 291.2 Questionnaire for fish traders in the proposed wildlife sanctuaries . 361.3 Data sheet for fishing gear census . 401.4 Fishing effort and catch composition data sheet . 411.5 Data sheet for investigating shrimp fry collection . 42Appendix 2: Financial report . 43List of FiguresFigure 1: Eastern Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh with dolphin hotspots circled in red. . 3Figure 2: Sundarbans mangrove forest with the three existing wildlife sanctuaries and the three proposedwildlife sanctuaries in Bangladesh indicated. . 4Figure 3: Number of active fishing gears in the hotspot segments during the wet season . 10Figure 4: Number of active fishermen in the hotspot segments during the wet season . 10Figure 5: Number of active gears in the hotspot segments during the dry season . 11Figure 6: Number of active fishermen in the segments during the dry season . 11Figure 7: Literacy level of fishermen . 12Figure 8: Average monthly income of the fishermen in compare to their education level . 12Figure 9: Literacy level of fish traders . 13Figure 10: Average monthly income of the fish traders in compare to their education level . 13Figure 11: Fish market chain . 15Figure 12: Perceived importance of dolphins in the rivers . 16Figure 13: Reported dolphin entanglements according to gears and seasons . 16Figure 14: Reported dolphin entanglements . 17Figure 15: Reported fate of the entangled dolphins . 17Figure 16: Reported fate of the dolphin carcasses. 18List of TablesTable 1: Percentage of income from fisheries . 14Table 2: Weight, economic value and catch per unit effort (CPUE) for gill nets in proposed wildlifesanctuaries. 19Table 3: Weight, economic value and catch per unit effort (CPUE) for long lines in proposed wildlifesanctuaries. 19Table 4: Comparison of by-catch from post larvae set bag nets and box nets . 20Table 5: Comparison of dead by-catch percentage in the post-larvae nets . 20Table 6: Women and children involved in collection of post-larvae. 20iv

CLP’0217810January, 20121. IntroductionBangladesh, a country known for its high population density, also contains one of the world’slargest river networks. The alluvial channels and adjacent floodplains of the GangesBrahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) river system occupy approximately 80% of the country’sgeographical area and support three quarters of its human population (Dalal-Clayton, 1990).The Sundarbans is the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest, encompassing almost600,000 ha. About one third of the area is composed of a complex network of tidal and fluvialwaterways ranging from a few meters to a few kilometers wide. The network is fed almostentirely by the GBM river system (Hussain and Karim, 1994). A significant population of Asia’sonly remaining two freshwater dependant dolphin species still remains in the waterways ofSundarbans which can be saved from extinction through early conservation initiatives (Smith, etal., 1998).Ganges River dolphins or Shushuks (Platanista gangetica) range from the major Himalayantributaries of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river system in the north to the Bay of Bengal inthe south as well as in the much smaller Karnaphuli–Sangu River system in south-easternBangladesh (Kasuya and Haque, 1972; Haque, 1976; Reeves and Brownell, 1989; Reeves, et al.,1993). The distribution of these true river dolphins tends to be clumped in deep counter-currentpools created by channel confluences, mid-channel islands, and sharp meanders. The speciesrange was mapped by Anderson (1879), but since then the range has declined especially in theupstream reaches (Sinha, et al., 2000; Smith, et al., 2001) and the species is currently consideredas ‘Endangered’ according to IUCN Red List criteria (Smith, et al., 2004a). A comprehensivestudy in the Sundarbans mangrove forest of Bangladesh has estimated 225 Shushuks living in thewaters of the Sundarbans mangrove forest (Smith, et al., 2006).The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) in Bangladesh ranges from freshwater channels ofthe Sundarbans mangrove forest to the shallow coastal waters under influence of freshwaterinflow. Similar to Ganges River dolphins, Irrawaddy dolphins also prefer counter-current habitat,1 P ag e

CLP’0217810January, 2012but they are generally found in higher salinity areas of the Sundarbans with a seasonally varyingzone of overlap in the distribution of both species. The waterways of the Sundarbans are home to451 Irrawaddy dolphins (Smith, et al., 2006), with an additional 5,383 animals estimated tooccur in adjacent coast waters (Smith, et al., 2008). This constitutes the world’s largestpopulation of Irrawaddy dolphins.Declining freshwater flows profoundly threaten the world’s riverine and estuarine biodiversity(Covich, 1993; Postel and Richter, 2003). Cetaceans living in these environments are especiallyat risk due to their particular environmental needs, including sufficient flow to allow movementbetween deep pools and the availability of hydraulic refuge from high velocity currents (Smithand Reeves, 2000). As for most small cetaceans, fishing gear entanglements pose a serious threatespecially from gill nets (Kreb, et al., 2010); gill nets and long lines are known to cause theirdeath in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. (Fahrni Mansur, et al., 2008). The Wildlife ConservationSociety’s Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project (BCDP) has proposed the establishment ofthree new wildlife sanctuaries which were identified as ‘dolphin hotspots’ based on theoccurrence of both Ganges river and Irrawaddy dolphins and the encounter rates of the twospecies recorded during opportunistic surveys conducted by the captains of nature tourismvessels (Smith, et al., 2010). These three ‘dolphin hotspots’ are in close proximity to fishingvillages with a majority of fisherfolk using dolphin entangling gears. Establishing protected areasin these crucial river segments aims to protect these threatened dolphin populations throughpromoting sustainable fisheries and non-entangling gear.A group of seven young conservationists was selected by the Conservation LeadershipProgramme to carry out a study aimed at identifying the human elements which need to beconsidered when developing an effective management plan for these proposed sanctuaries. Thestudy includes socio-economic analyses of the fishing communities living in close proximity tothe protected areas, identification of fish market mechanism relevant to the aquatic resourcescollected from these river segments and an assessment of the impacts freshwater dolphins andtheir prey from dolphin entangling fishing gears. The team also attempted to identify lessdestructive practices for collecting crustacean larvae and to gain a better understanding of localperceptions of dolphins.2 P ag e

CLP’0217810January, 2012Figure 1: Eastern Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh with dolphin hotspots circled in red.3 P ag e

CLP’0217810January, 2012Figure 2: Sundarbans mangrove forest with the three existing wildlife sanctuaries and the threeproposed wildlife sanctuaries in Bangladesh indicated.1.1 Team membersNameEmile tionTeam LeaderCLP Intern withB.Sc. inSundarbansEnvironmentalNature GuideWCS MarineManagementsince 2006BangladeshLocal GISconsultant forSwiss4 P ag eRoles in theProgram

CLP’0217810January, 2012DevelopmentCorporation andSwiss Red CrossWater-SanitationprojectShaikh TareqB.Sc. in Fisheries VolunteerData analyst andM.Sc. student,Arafatand MarineInterpreter forresearchKhulnaTechnologyBCDP MuhammadB.Sc. in Fisheries Volunteer forFisheriesM.Sc. student,Abiar Rahmanand MarineBCDP ons inLeaderUniversity,Bangladeshthe proposedsanctuariesShaikh ShahidulMasters ofVolunteer forData Analyst andMonitoring andIslamDevelopmentalBCDP igations inInvestigationofficer at Jatratathe proposedCoordinatorJuba Sangsthasanctuaries(JJS)Md. RafiqulB.Sc. inResearchLocalM.Sc. student,IslamEnvironmentalassistant forCommunicationEnvironmentalScienceNGO ProdipanCoordinatorScience, KhulnaPost graduateVolunteer fordiploma inBCDPUniversity,BangladeshDisasterManagementRazib Chandra5 P ag eM.Sc. in Zoology Volunteer forTaxonomicM.Phil. thesis

CLP’0217810BhowmickJanuary, 2012(Parasitology)BCDPDelip Kumar Das M.Sc. in Zoology Research OfficerExpertworkField Work andM.Sc. student,(Wildlifefor iperCoordinatorUniversity ofmanagement mbai, IndiaBangladeshVolunteerInterpreter forBCDP DolphinExhibitionVolunteer forBCDP ecologicalinvestigations inthe proposedsanctuaries2. Aim and objectivesThe main aim of this project was to identify the human elements which need to be considered toensure the sustainable use of aquatic resources in the proposed wildlife sanctuaries of theSundarbans, Bangladesh. The objectives of the study are: Estimating the contribution of fisheries to the local livelihood and economy.o Documenting the number of people involved in fishing with dolphin entanglinggears.o Assessing the percentage of monthly income from fisheries among the fishermenand fish traders.6 P ag e

CLP’0217810January, 2012o Evaluating the fish market chain prevalent in the study areas. Understanding the management structure governing the aquatic resources.o Understanding the present management policies.o Documenting the perceptions of aquatic resource managers regarding theconservation of dolphins. Understanding the socio-economic status of the people engaged in fishing with dolphinentangling gears.o Documenting their income and literacy levels.o Identifying their alternate income generating options.o Understanding their perception regarding the needs of river dolphins. Assessing the catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) of dolphin entangling gears.o Identifying the fish and crustacean species caught.o Assessing the market value of the fish caught in those gears and income fromeach effort of the fishermen. Identifying the less destructive method of collecting shrimp larvae.o Comparing the by-catch rates of two commonly used shrimp larvae collectinggears and identify the less destructive option of harvesting crustacean larvae fromthe wild. Strengthening the capacity of the team members and the local communities.3. Methodology3.1 PlanningAll team members met with the staff of the BCDP to identify the objectives of this study. Theythen jointly developed plans for the field work required. Datasheets and standardizedquestionnaires were developed in consultation with the BCDP researchers.3.2 TrainingA reconnaissance trip accompanied by the BCDP’s principal researcher and project coordinatorwas conducted in August 2010 when the team visited the study areas. During this trip the teammembers received the necessary training to carry out the research. In the field the methodologywas assessed and adapted as necessary.7 P ag e

CLP’0217810January, 20123.3 Field workField work was conducted in four sessions between August and December 2010 to collect dataduring the wet/monsoon (4th to 15th August and 15th to 23rd September) and dry (2nd to 13thDecember and 15th to 27th December) season in the proposed wildlife sanctuaries.3.3.1 Estimating the contribution of fisheries in local livelihood and socio-economic status ofthe fishing communitiesIdentification of the socio-economic status and contribution of fisheries to monthly income of 78fishermen actively engaged in fishing with gill nets, long lines and set bag nets (nets known tohave accidental dolphin entanglements) in the proposed wildlife sanctuaries were done throughstandardized interviews (50 gill nets, 13 long lines and 15 set bag net users). General attitudes offishermen towards dolphins were also recorded through these interview surveys. Documentationof entanglement of dolphin in their gear was also recorded from the interview surveys. Similarsurveys were conducted among 39 fish traders engaged in fish trading in and around theproposed sanctuaries to identify their socio-economic status, dependency on aquatic resourcesfrom these river segments and the prevalent fish supply and market chain.Conducting gear census in the segments allowed the team to record the total number of deployedfishing gear and the number of fishermen involved in it. This census was conducted 4 times (daytime incoming tide, day time outgoing tide, night time incoming tide, night time outgoing tide) ineach of the proposed sanctuaries in each season (monsoon and dry). This survey also allowed theteam to document the involvement of women in the fishing activities.3.3.2 Assessing the CPUE of fishing gears known for dolphin entanglementFish and crustaceans caught with gill nets and long lines were identified and the total weight andmedian length of each species were documented. The team recorded the catch from 56 driftinggill nets and 6 long lines and calculated the CPUE based on these catches. The economic valueof each catch was estimated with the help of the current market value of each species caught, asidentified by the fishermen and the fish traders. Generally the fishermen sell their fish to the fishtrader, so the identified market value of the fish species by the fishermen was considered as thebuying rate of the fish collectors.8 P ag e

CLP’0217810January, 20123.3.3 Investigating sustainable method for collecting shrimp larvae inside the SundarbansThe catches from 56 post-larvae set bag nets (PLSBN) and 26 post larvae box nets (PLBN) wereanalyzed. Each catch were taken in to a bowl and 20 liters of water was added to that. 2.5-5%was taken from that 20 liters by using smaller mugs (the mugs had marks of 500 ml and 250 ml)and the number of target and non-target species in that portion was calculated. Large number ofby-catch (several thousand often) restricted the team from analyzing the total catch from thosenets. Assistance from local skilled fishermen enabled the team to identify the target and nontarget species more accurately. Separation of dead and alive non-target species was done throughvisual confirmation by the same fishermen. The total by-catch and by-catch mortality wasestimated from that sample.3.3.4 Strengthening the capacity of the team members and local communitiesThe capacity of the team members and the local communities were increased through the fieldworks and disseminating the educational outreach materials among them. Also a workshop wasconducted initially to introduce the team members to the techniques which were taught to one ofthe team members during the CLP training.3.4 AnalysesCollected data were digitized and analyzed using available Microsoft Office Excel and was usedfor preparation of this report. Literatures from BCDP of WCS helped the team to identifydifferent baseline information from the study area as well as the local WCS personnel wereconsulted during the preparation of the final report.4.Outputs and results4.1 Number of gears and people involved in fisheriesDeployment of dolphin entangling gears is significantly higher during the wet season (Figure 3)than during the dry season (Figure 5). It was found that drifting gill nets were more used duringthe wet season which requires more man power resulting in increasing the number of peopleinvolved in fishing with entangling gear during that season (Figure 4) than the dry (Figure 6).9 P ag e

CLP’0217810January, 2012Figure 3: Number of active fishing gears in the hotspot segments during the wet seasonDayNight50Number of gearsNumber of ggears100Dhangmari Chandpai0DhangmariChandpaiDudmukhiDudmukhiFigure 4: Number of active fishermen in the hotspot segments during the wet seasonNumber of people involvedNight100500Dhangmari10 P a g eChandpaiDudmukhiNumber of people gears100DhangmariChandpaiDudmukhi

CLP’0217810January, 2012Figure 5: Number of active gears in the hotspot segments during the dry seasonNight16014012010080604020025Number of gearsNumber of igure 6: Number of active fishermen in the segments during the dry seasonDayNight40200150100500Dhangmari11 P a g eChandpaiDudmukhiNumber of people involvedNumber of people 0DhangmariChandpaiDudmukhi

CLP’0217810January, 20124.2 Socio-economic status of the fishermen and contribution of fisheries in their livelihood82% of the interviewed fishermen had not completed their 5 years of primary education (Figure7) and it was seen that education level of the interviewed fishermen had a strong relationshipwith their average monthly income (Figure 8).Figure 7: Literacy level of fishermen1%17%None40%Primary (below grade 5)Secondary (grade 6-10)Higher42%Figure 8: Average monthly income of the fishermen in compare to their education levelBelow primaryAbove primaryBDT 0-20002%6%7%16%7%BDT 2001400014%20%29%BDT 40016000BDT 6001800056%43%BDT 800110000Similar surveys among the fish traders also revealed that 61% of the interviewed fish traders hadnot completed their 5 years of primary education (Figure 9) and similar to the fishermen, theiraverage monthly income also varied according to their educational background (Figure 10).12 P a g e

CLP’0217810January, 2012Figure 9: Literacy level of fish traders3%None5%20%Primary (below grade 5)Secondary (grade 6-10)31%Higher Secondary (grade 1112)Graduate41%Figure 10: Average monthly income of the fish traders in compare to their education levelAbove primaryBelow primary0%0%0%BDT 0-2000BDT 2001-40000%8%4% 9%4%21%8%BDT 4001-60000%20%0%13%BDT 6001-8000BDT 8001-10007%0%46%BDT 10001-1200013%40%7%BDT 12001-14000BDT 14001-16000BDT 16001-18000BDT 18000Fisheries, both direct and trading has the largest contribution among the interviewed fishermenor fish trader’s monthly income. They almost fully depend on fisheries especially during the wetseason (Table 1).13 P a g e

CLP’0217810January, 2012Table 1: Percentage of income from fisheriesPercentagePre-monsoonMonsoon seasonPost monsoon(December -season (April –(June -season (OctoberMarch)May)September)– en’sincomeDry e fromfisheries4.3 Prevailing fish market chainFour types of fish traders (fish collector, depot holder, wholesaler and retailer) were identified inthe 5 markets (Mongla, Digraj, Baniashanta, Chandpai, Pathorghata) examined close to theproposed wildlife sanctuaries. Fish collectors gather and buy the catch directly from thefishermen in the location or in the local markets and 63% sell it to a depot, take the fish to theweekly market in the close-by villages (6%) or sell to consumers directly (31%). 38% of depotholders sell the produce to another depot. The wholesalers mostly sell the fish they havepurchased from fishermen or depot to other middlemen (43%), while 75% of the retailers sellthe fish directly to the consumers. Figure 11 shows the different fish selling channels of thesefish traders.14 P a g e

CLP’0217810January, 2012Figure 11: Fish market chainFish CollectorDepot r5%Another MiddlemanWholesalerRetailerProcessing Industry14%25%29%14%75%Selling in bulk at a fishmarket to another depotor middlemanConsumer43%4.4 Perceptions of local people regarding dolphins and reported dolphin entanglementsIn general the interviewed fishermen had positive attitude towards the presence of dolphins in therivers and almost three-fourth of them believed that dolphins are important for the rivers; thereof34% mentioned that presence of dolphins help to keep ecological balance or to detect fishschools (Figure 12).15 P a g e

CLP’0217810January, 2012Figure 12: Perceived importance of dolphins in the rivers4%detect fish school3%7%keeps ecological balance17%4%looks beautifulnot harmful for human10%17%helps to understand tidal changehelps the fishsaves human from drowning38%no ideaIt was seen earlier that the deployment of dolphin entangling gears is significantly higher duringthe wet season (Figure 3 and Figure 4) than during the dry season (Figure 5 and Figure 6). Thatis also reflected on the reported dolphin entanglements as 54% of the entanglements reported bythe interviewed fishermen took place during the wet season and from gill nets (Figure 13).Figure 13: Reported dolphin entanglements according to gears and seasonsNumber of dolphin entanglement302520Gill nets15Set bag nets10Post-larvae setbag netNo-Idea (gear)5Dry16 P a g ePre-monsoonMonsoon/WetIrrawaddy DolphinGanges River DolphinIrrawaddy DolphinGanges River DolphinIrrawaddy DolphinGanges River DolphinGanges River DolphinIrrawaddy Dolphin0Post-monsoon

CLP’0217810January, 2012Reports of Ganges river dolphin getting entangled in the fishing gears were more commonduring the interview surveys than Irrawaddy dolphin (Figure 14). This sho

The team has managed to assist the existing dolphin project to develop a recommendation plan . Communication Coordinator M.Sc. student, Environmental Science, Khulna University, Bangladesh Razib Chandra