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Congratulations to Ruyel Miah for the successful defence of his M.Sc. thesis at the Sylhet Agricultural University in Bangladesh!

by Ruyel Miah

OFI Module I Master's student Ruyel Miah has successfully defended his Master of Science thesis from Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU), Bangladesh, on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. His thesis is entitled “Assessing important biological, economic and social sustainability aspects of Mud crab (Scylla serrata) fishery in the Sundarbans mangrove forest.” He was working under the supervision of Dr. Mohammad Mahmudul Islam, a former Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) funded post-doc fellow and co-supervised by Mohammad Mosarof Hossain. He describes his experience below, and how it relates to his current Master's studies as part of the Geography Department at Memorial University.

I feel that the Master’s program at Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU) has been instrumental in growing my interest in small-scale fisheries-related research. Through this program, I realized that social-ecological changes are inherently linked to sustainable livelihoods for small-scale fishers. 


"Data collection on gender perspectives". Chuna, Sathkira, Bangladesh. ©Ruyel Miah, 2019

I had completed all the degree-related works before I moved to St. John’s to start my Master of Arts program at the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), funded by OFI Module I. I was waiting for the defence date to complete my Master of Science at SAU since I started my program in Fall 2019 at MUN, and finally, I am done!

I feel that the Master’s program at SAU has been instrumental in growing my interest in small-scale fisheries-related research. Through this program, I realized that social-ecological changes are inherently linked to sustainable livelihoods for small-scale fishers. Drawing from the sustainable livelihood approach framework, my study at SAU found the failure in achieving social, economic, and biological sustainability aspects of a fishery (e.g., mud crab) are important drivers of forming social-ecological traps. My study concludes that weak governing institutions, both in terms of structure and mechanisms, are one of the main reasons for the failure to achieve fisheries sustainability, as well as resulting in social-ecological traps. I provided some policy recommendations and sought the Bangladesh government’s attention regarding access to mud crab fishery and its markets for small-scale fisheries.





















My current Master’s research at MUN expands on this study, applying the interactive governance theory to examine how markets are structured and governed and whether they facilitate or inhibit access for small-scale mud crab and inshore snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) fisheries. I originally planned to focus on inshore snow crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I added an emphasis on understanding how COVID-19 enhances small-scale fisheries vulnerability and what has been done to address them. I am currently working on a comparative case study analysis remotely between mud crab fishery in Bangladesh and snow crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. Having the case studies from a developing country and a developed country, I am hoping to compare two fisheries and produce more generalized knowledge regarding the market structure, governance, function, gender roles, and the overall involvement of small-scale fishers in the market chains. 

Both the programs so far make me realize that the governance related to natural resources, such as small-scale fisheries, is complex, with problems and challenges that are hard to define and to find a solution. I am interested in doing more work in this regard, especially to conduct institutional analysis and contribute to the pathways of making a viable governing system for small-scale fisheries. 

I am doing my current Master’s at MUN under the supervision of OFI Module-I lead, Professor Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, and co-supervised by Professor Dr. Gabriela Sabau (Grenfell campus, MUN) and Professor Dr. Mohammad Mahmudul Islam (SAU, Bangladesh)

Learn more:

To be in touch with Ruyel, you can visit his LinkedIn page or email him at

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Written by Ruyel Miah

Ruyel is a Master’s student in the Department of Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland, funded by the Ocean Frontier Institute. Currently, he is working on access to markets for small-scale fisheries under the Sub-Module I-1 (i.e., Access to Resources and Markets). He has completed his Bachelor of Science in Fisheries from Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet, Bangladesh. His research interests include small-scale fisheries governance, markets access and value chain in fisheries, vulnerability and viability of SSF, conservation and sustainability of marine fisheries resources.

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