Abstract: Bangladesh fishery industry contributes 4.39% to the GDP, 23.00% to the agricultural GDP, and 6% to the total export value, and modern fish processing in this country needs new fish processing equipment and technologies.

I. Fishery Is A Superior Industry in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has 4.7 million hectares of inland water areas and 166,000 square kilometers of marine areas for the exclusive economic zone. At the same time, the unique climate of available sunlight and temperature throughout the year, as well as water fertility in Bangladesh, offer advantaged conditions to fish growth and production.
Bangladeshis are traditionally fish-eating people. Fishes play a crucial role in the Bangladesh diet, and fish supply in Bangladesh meets 60% of the domestic animal protein consumption. The fishery is an important industry in Bangladesh that contributes 4.39% to the GDP, 23.00% to the agricultural GDP, and 6% of the total export value. In 2010-2011, around 3.1 million metric tons of fish were caught in the country, comprising 2.5 million metric tons of freshwater fish and 0.6 million metric tons of saltwater fish. From 2011 to 2012, the total amount of aquatic products is 3.26 million tons, and the amount of foreign exchange earning by exporting aquatic products is 2.46%.
Fish (including shrimp and prawn) is the second most valuable agricultural crop, and its production conduces to livelihoods and employment. In Bangladesh, there are 1.3 million people directly working by fishery for a living, and the other 10 million people doing the work related to the fishery.

II. Bangladesh Holds Fishery Resources with Wide Variety

1. Bangladesh’s fishery production can be classified into marine fishery production, and inland fishery production that is divided into open waters and enclosed waters. Thus, based on the production water areas, Bangladesh’s fish resources can be divided into marine and freshwater fishes & shrimps, 300 species of fish, and 20 species of shrimps involved. 1. The most common species is ilish, a kind of national fish.
2. The major and minor indigenous carps are katla, rohu, mrigel, kalbasu; and bata, reba, nandin, gonia. Introduced exotic species are silver carps, grass carp, bighead carp, black carp, common carp, silver barb, Tilapia and Mahseer. Among these carps, rohu, katla, mrigal, and silver carp account for about 74% of pond production.
3. Other major culture species in Bangladesh include the grass carp, common carp, tilapia and Pangas.
4. The shrimps have two kinds: the brackish water shrimp, like the sugpo prawn, brown shrimp, Indian prawn; the fresh water shrimp, like the macrobrachium rosenbergii.
Fisheries Resources

Inland Open-waters (capture fishery)
 Total Inland Area: 4575706ha    100.00%
Inland Closed-waters (culture fishery)
Marine Waters
166,000 sq km

 III. Fish Products Processing in Bangladesh

3.1 Processing on the fishing boat

Usually, the deep-sea fishing trawlers and mechanized fish boats are equipped with basic fish processing machines and cold-store facilities to manage the fish on the spot. But the small-scale (non-mechanized) fishing boat has no fish processing equipment, the caught fish and shrimps are stored with ice, and then they are delivered to fish processing plants or distributors to have further processing.

3.2 Fish processing plants

Before 1971, there were 9 fish processing plants in Bangladesh, and all of these plants were engaged in fish products production for exporting to Europe and the USA. In 1972-1984, 40 processing plants were installed by the private sector mostly under government initiation and bank loan support to promote the vision of exports to Europe and the USA. In 1985-1998, 72 more processing plants were established by the private sector for processing and exporting shrimp and fish products for an extended business around the world.

Bangladesh fish products processed by fish processing plant

There are 133 aquatic product processing plants in Bangladesh currently, of which 74 plants are under regular surveillance by EU member state and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials to ensure food safety requirements are met. And most of the processing plants are located in port cities (Khulna and Chittagong). In the meantime, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) has been introduced in the plants for fish processing.

3.3 Modern fish processing needs new machinery and technology

With the development of the fishery industry of Bangladesh, the need for new machinery and technology for modern fish products processing is obvious. So the fish processing plants in the country keep introducing as well as developing advanced facilities and technologies to help a high-quality fish products production. And the fish processing machines have been improved to meet the international standard, such as the fish cleaning machine (fish should be washed and cleaned properly before handling in plants), fish descaling machine, fish skinning machine, and fish meat separating machine, etc.; as a traditional practice in Bangladesh, dried fish and fish meal production is also bettered a lot nowadays by using advanced fish meat drying machines; frozen fishes and shrimps is one of the major fish products of Bangladesh, the advanced refrigerating equipment is necessary.

IV. Fish Products Exports of Bangladesh

The main import countries of Bangladesh fish products are European countries, the US, and Japan, and these three markets have a 98% import share of the total export value in Bangladesh. The rest 2% of fishery products are mainly exported to Southeast Asian countries and the Middle East countries.
Modern fish processing of Bangladesh is done almost entirely for the export market, with shrimp processing holding almost 80% of that segment. In July/June fiscal year 2011-2012, Bangladesh exported $598 million worth of fish and seafood, with shrimp contributing $472 million of the total. And the export product scale comprises 72% unprocessed products (frozen whole), 24% prepared/processed, and 4% other products (frozen freshwater fish). The major aquatic products for exports in Bangladesh are frozen prawns, IQF (Individual Quick Freezing) prawns and white meat fishes, PUD and P&D prawn pieces, packed frozen prawns for retail, fresh and frozen hilsa herring, dried/salted and dehydrated fishes, fresh fishes and crabs, and small amount of fishes and shrimps that have additional values.