Climate-friendly and climate-resilient prawn farming in Bangladesh (ECOPRAWN)


Start date: 1 April, 2022 End date: 31 December, 2026 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 21-01-KU Countries: Bangladesh Thematic areas: Agricultural production, Climate change, Economic development and value chains, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU), Bangladesh Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Bangladesh Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Max Nielsen Total grant: 11,999,526 DKK

Project summary

ECOPRAWN aims to analyze both climate change mitigation and adaptation of prawn farming in Bangladesh and thereby meet the theme “Sustainable development and climate change”. Mitigation is implemented by introduction of Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) to reduce GHG emissions from prawn farming, while adaptation focuses at making the prawn industry resilient to salt intrusion.
The project will generate novel knowledge on (i) application of IMTA in prawn farming to minimize organic and inorganic waste and hereby reduce CO2/methane emissions from the ponds, (ii) conversion of prawn pond waste to fish feeds via snails, (iii) beneficial microbes that mitigate diseases caused by salinity stress in prawns and stimulate the growth and survival at salinity-threatened farms, (iv) economic feasibility of using IMTA for reducing GHG emissions and using microorganisms to adapt to salt intrusion, (v) the role of co-management in mitigating and adapting to climate change in poorly managed prawn aquaculture areas, and (vi) on integrating life-cycle assessment and climate preferences of consumers into value chain analysis of governance and power to reveal company incentives to reduce carbon footprint.
In the project, the PhDs will be trained in academic and practical disciplines, ranging from analysis of GHG fluxes and feasibility of IMTA, to application of state-of-the-art economy models. Further, during local thematic workshops, Danish experts will provide training in vital topics to ensure mediation of new and relevant knowledge.
The results will be disseminated to the private sector and public authorities through workshops, visits and interviews with farmers and actors in the value chain. The project aims at publishing a substantial number of articles in scientific journals, and the PhD students will be enrolled in double degree programs at UCPH. The project further aims to continue the well-functioning collaboration between the same participants as in the earlier FFU funded project “Upgrading pangas and tilapia value chains in Bangladesh (BANGFISH)”. This project was finalized in 2020 with education of 6 PhDs in close contact with the Industry and Governmental bodies in Bangladesh, and has resulted in about 35 scientific articles in international refereed journal. The ECOPRAWN project is expected to deliver a corresponding body of research capacity for improvement of the prawn and aquaculture community in Bangladesh.


First year report
After one year, ECOPRAWN follows the plan studying climate-friendly and climate-resilient prawn farming in Bangladesh. 7 of 8 PhD students are hired and work on their PhD. Of these, 43 are enrolled in double PhD degrees, 1 in single degree and 2 are enrolled in Bangladesh, but remain under assessment at UCPH. The last PhD student is expected to start in Bangladesh 1 July, but remain under assessment for enrollment both at BAU and UCPH. The start-up meeting were held in Khulna 27 November to 2 December 2022. That included a Stakeholder Conference with broad participation from the Industry and other stakeholders, as well as from the Danish Embassy. The Stakeholder Conference was covered in Bangladeshi TV and news. The Conference made the public aware of the project, as well as input and inspiration from the audience for the project content were well received by the ECOPRAWN staff.
The work is organized around four objectives (WPs). The work after one year of the four year and nine month project is still in its early phases, although the work centers around writing shared international ref. journal articles in the 4 WPs, of the 8 PhD students in their supervisor groups and of the seniors in each WP. The state for all WPs is that experiments in labs and at farms are being prepared/planned and data collection is in progress.

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