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Darwin-Hilsa Knowledge Basket

About the project

The hilsa fish is of national importance to Bangladesh. But increased demand for the fish has led to pressure on the fish species. Not only is the hilsa in trouble, but so are the 3 million fishermen, fisherwomen and fishery workers who directly or indirectly depend on the fish for their livelihood.

This has prompted the government to declare five areas as sanctuaries for the fish. In return for not fishing in these areas affected fishing communities or households are rewarded with sacks of rice and provided with alternative income generating activities to replace the lost income.

In March 2013, IIED, in partnership with Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies and Bangladesh Agricultural University and in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries of the Government of Bangladesh, launched a Darwin-Initiative funded project that aimed to fill knowledge gaps and recommend policy options and thereby enhance the effectiveness of the incentive-based scheme.

Knowledge products

Below are all knowledge products produced by the research project:


Balancing carrots and sticks: incentives for sustainable hilsa fishery management in Bangladesh 

Payments for coastal and marine ecosystem services: prospects and principles

Payments for ecosystem services in developing world fisheries

Economic incentives for sustainable hilsa fishing in Bangladesh: An analysis of the legal and institutional framework

Direct economic incentives for sustainable fisheries management: the case of Hilsa conservation in Bangladesh

Economic incentives for sustainable hilsa fish management in Bangladesh: An analysis of the legal and institutional framework

The cost of compensation: Transaction and administration costs of hilsa fish management in Bangladesh

A Review of Conservation Trust Funds for Sustainable Marine Resources Management: Conditions for Success

Incentive-based Hilsa fish conservation and management in Bangladesh: prospects and challenges

Mitigating unintended local economic impacts of the compensation scheme for hilsa management

Food and feeding ecology of hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) in Bangladesh’s Meghna River basin

Protecting ecosystems and livelihoods

The biophysical assessments of the hilsa fish (Tenualosa ilisha) habitat in the lower Meghna, Bangladesh

IIED Blogs and news articles:

UK's Darwin Initiative funded project strives to reduce threats to hilsa fish

Five ways to boost stocks of the Bay of Bengal’s beloved hilsa fish

Compensation for conservation of Bangladesh’s national fish

Bangladesh: protecting the Hilsa from overfishing

Protecting ecosystems and livelihoods in Bangladesh

Want to know how to save a fish species? Ask a fisher

Can we save our fisheries with lessons from our forests?

Environmental Funds: sustainable finance for conservation

Conservation trust fund proposed to help manage Bangladesh fish stocks

Scientists call for international collaboration to safeguard hilsa fish stocks

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FishNet was created by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) as part of its work on the economics of marine and coastal fisheries.