PUBLICATION Journal article

Fuel use intensity of hilsa fisheries in the lower Meghna River estuary of Bangladesh

Among the species caught by small-scale fisheries in Bangladesh, hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) is the most important by volume and of great cultural importance. Hilsa fishing boats have over the last decade been mechanized, enabling longer trips and larger hauls. This development has, however, also resulted in increased fishing pressure and increased reliance on fossil fuels. This study estimates the fuel use intensity (FUI) of hilsa fishing, calculated as fuel per unit landed mass of hilsa at one of the main landing stations (Chairman ghat) in the coastal area of Noakhali district, Bangladesh. Primary data were collected from three types of artisanal fishing boats commonly used in hilsa fisheries, namely small boats (Choto/Khosa tempo), medium boats (Tempo), and large boats. Our results show a higher fuel use intensity in small boats (750 ± 468 l t-1), compared to medium (495 ± 270 l t-1) and large boats (576 ± 365 l t-1). Considering the gross catch and total fuel consumption of all boats, the absolute FUI is estimated at 463 l t-1. Thus, the FUI of hilsa fishing is slightly lower than the average for global fisheries FUI (489 l t-1). In terms of greenhouse gas (GHG), not including other lifecycle inputs (e.g. infrastructure, ice, supply chain etc.) than fuel (i.e. diesel, LPG, and wood), the average global warming impact is 1.72 ± 0.34 tonnes CO2-eq. t-1 overall catch. This study provides a baseline estimate for FUI and GHG emissions from contemporary hilsa fishing, and proposes solutions for addressing environmental issues and improving the overall performance of the sector.

Zaman, A.U., P.J.G. Henriksson, and A. Al Mamun. 2023. Fuel use intensity of hilsa fisheries in the lower Meghna River estuary of Bangladesh. Fisheries Research 263:106684.