Country Listing

Bangladesh Table of Contents



In the 1980s, Bangladesh emerged suddenly and dramatically as a major producer of shrimp, frog legs, and fish for export. The seafood industry's sudden success resulted primarily from private entrepreneurial initiatives, in response to a hospitable international market. The natural resources to support a growing fisheries sector are abundant, including enormous potential to develop inland water bodies, as well as even greater productive areas of coastal and offshore waters. Coastal brackish-water shrimp farming was more developed and was likely to grow further as investment increased, higher technology was brought to the activity, and the world market continued buoyant.

The pace of fishery development was impressive in the 1980s. At the beginning of the 1970s, frozen seafood was responsible for less than 1 percent of exports or US$3.4 million per year. The figure rose to US$40 million in FY 1981, US$113 million in FY 1986, and US$86 million in the first 6 months of FY 1987. At that point, it was suddenly second only to jute as Bangladesh's most valuable export.

Fresh and frozen shrimp accounted for two-thirds of Bangladesh's seafood exports in the mid-1980s; Japan purchased more than half. The United States, Belgium, and Britain were the other major buyers; the United States was the prime customer for frog legs, the largest category after shrimp.

Data as of September 1988