Wetlands are considered as one of the highly productive natural ecosystems all over the world. It plays a number of functions like water purification, flood protection, shoreline erosion control, water storage, processing of carbon and other nutrients, stabilization of shorelines, etc. Most importantly it is a vital ecosystem for the fisheries sector for its critical role as spawning, nursery and feeding grounds for a variety of fishes, amphibians as well as aquatic birds, invertebrates and mammals. It also supports the cultivation of wetland plants and irrigation. It is also related to recreational fisheries. Thus, wetland ecosystems support income generation, livelihoods and food security for rural people.
Bangladesh is endowed with different types of wetlands which are scattered throughout the country. Many rural people can easily meet their daily nutritional need by catching fishes and foraging aquatic plants. People who are not directly connected to these water bodies can also access these cheap foods through provision. Thus, wetlands directly or indirectly support the food security of rural communities and wider society. However, the wetlands of Bangladesh are being extremely affected by several types of disturbances. The disturbances are mostly human-associated, direct or indirect, as well as natural induced. Major threats to the wetlands include overexploitation, draining of wetlands for commercial development or agricultural land, the inflow of pesticides and chemical pollutants from agriculture and industrial sources, invasive species, changes in the physical properties like excessive alteration of water temperature, increase in salinity, etc. These threats ultimately lead to decreased aquatic biodiversity and fisheries production resulting in loss of livelihoods, displacement of communities, food insecurity and malnutrition, and abject poverty.
Considering these issues, the aim of this conference is set to find out potential, feasible, implementable and cross-cutting knowledge to conserve wetlands and improve food security. The International Conference on Sustainable Fisheries (ICSF) to be held in Sylhet Agricultural University, Bangladesh in August 2019 will be an interactive platform for scientists, policy makers, environmental managers, industries and those interested in sustainable fisheries and food security to discuss and exchange ideas and knowledge. We invite you to participate in the ICSF 2019 conference.