Identifying institutional barriers to marine fisheries development projects in Bangladesh
Nazrul, K.M. Shahriar
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Marine waters of Bangladesh are amongst the most biologically diverse in the world. With financial and technical support from international organisations, several large-scale projects have been implemented to support the development and sustainable management of its marine fisheries. Although the majority of immediate objectives for these projects are generally achieved, in most cases, their development aspirations such as sustainable resource management, institutional capacity building, fisheries co-management are rarely attained. The objective of this research is, therefore, to understand why these projects fall short on attaining sustained outcomes beyond the life of the project through assessments of two recently completed projects (Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Capacity Building Project and Empowerment of Coastal Fishing Communities for Livelihood Security Project). The study identifies five categories of institutional barriers within the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and Department of Fisheries that are potentially affecting the long-term effectiveness of these development projects: legal limitation; strategic limitation; coordination gap; capacity limitation; and bureaucratic bottleneck. This paper concludes with recommendations on possible ways in reducing the impacts of these barriers, including periodic reviews of regulatory instruments, development of a comprehensive fisheries management plan, improving coordination through memorandum-of-understanding, adopting long-term career plan for technical staffs, and instituting mechanisms for evaluating project progress at each stage of the project implementation. With greater awareness of potential institutional barriers within Bangladesh’s fisheries governance structure, future development projects should benefit from improved design and implementation. Keywords: Bangladesh, marine fisheries, international development projects, sustained outcome, institutional barrier.