Promoting Integrated Management of the Sundarbans Mangroves and the Marine Protected Area ‘Swatch of No Ground’


Strengthen the coordination of relevant stakeholders for the protection and sustainable use of the Sundarbans and SoNG marine protected area. The project seeks to achieve it by developing  planning and surveillance capacities by enhancing the scientific monitoring and encouraging active participation of women and youth in marine protection.


The marine area Swatch of No Ground (SoNG) is a highly productive marine canyon and biodiversity hotspot for whales and dolphins in the south near the shore of the Sundarbans mangrove forest. In 2014, the Government of Bangladesh declared 173,800 hectares as Marine Protected Area (MPA). Many coastal fishing communities are highly dependent on this area. The main challenge in protecting and successfully managing SoNG is that the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) does not have the technical and personnel capabilities to carry out its mandate effectively. Moreover, there is a lack of inter-agency dialogue and coordination in planning, monitoring and managing data, especially with the Department of Fisheries (DoF), the Coast Guard and Navy.


The project pursues its aims by:

Output 1-Planning and Monitoring: improving the planning and monitoring capabilities of relevant actors to achieve a more efficient protection and more sustainable use of the coastal and marine resources,

Output 2-Knowledge based decision: providing for better foundations for knowledge-based decision-making in marine resource management and biodiversity conservation in the SoNG area and the Sundarbans,

Output 3-Community Development: training fishermen and women in the fisheries value chain and encourage youth from selected coastal communities to contribute actively to the conservation of biodiversity and nature.


Fishing communities with special focus on women and youth


Output 1-Planning and Monitoring

  • Improve the planning and monitoring capacities of relevant stakeholders for the sustainable use of the MPA SoNG
  • The BFD, DoF, and Coast Guard management and expert levels will familiarize with Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and SMART in order to make SMART usable for marine applications in the SoNG MPA
  • This digital tool will allow authorities to collect and monitor data on jointly defined marine parameters (e.g. sightings of marine mammals, vessel controls, fisheries monitoring, illegal activities, marine pollution including oil spills)
  • At local level, SoNG user groups in selected fishing communities will train in MSP. The MSP empowers actors to participate in the development of strategies and plans for marine resource management

Output 2-Knowledge based decision

  • Citizen-SMART will be established to ensure effective monitoring and participation in SMART citizen science and Marine SMART
  • Fishermen, women, and youth will be introduced to the Citizen-SMART application in collaboration with the DoF
  • The BFD will be able to improve the protection and management for SoNG by merging data from different sources and its own investigations into a user-friendly, digital, knowledge-based decision support system
  • RIMS specialists will receive advanced training in the analysis of geo-and satellite data in order to detect large-scale changes (such as oil pollution, concentration of plastic waste, algal blooms) as well as to monitor shipping traffic and any illegal fishing activities

Output 3-Community Development

  • Sensitizes fishermen, women and youth in the small-scale fisheries value chain to the impact of harmful fishing methods
  • Trains them in sustainable fishing practices and processing techniques
  • Strengthen women, in their role of improving the protection and conservation of biodiversity in the area between SoNG and the Sundarbans
  • Establish youth mentors for marine conservation





Aug 2022 - Jul 2025

Commission Agency