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Episode 3

Sustainability and DEIB: Voices from the Periphery

Join Dr. Fadia Nordtveit and Alifa Bintha Haque on Sustainability and DEIB.


Working for marine conservation is a passion I came upon rather than one that I have grown up with. I was born and brought up in an urban jungle within a conventional social setting. I didn’t know what to do with my zoology degree until I started visiting St Martin’s Island, a region of Bangladesh that is the least explored in terms of marine biodiversity, although 70% of its inhabitants depend on the sea.

I realised that conservation is not a goal to achieve but a path to follow and that, whether solutions are being sought, education is being contemplated or practices are being evaluated, the path should always include the perspective of the primary users of the resources – in this case, the fishers. The community that earns its living from the ocean knows more about the ecology and biology of the fish than I do, even though I studied fisheries for my degree.

My passion for working for marine conservation comes from not imposing solutions, but rather learning and taking a bottom-up approach. I gained my MSc in biodiversity conservation and management from Oxford University with a view to acquiring a global perspective and met an amazing network of similar-minded people.


On my return to Bangladesh, I started to work with people who were catching sharks and rays, as well as people who were trading in these species – another area that needs immediate research and conservation action. It took me a year and a half to gain the trust of these people. It is extremely difficult for a person to find his or her true calling and passion. I would say I’m fortunate that I am on the path to find mine.

Alifa Bintha


Check out more of Alifa's work!

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Alifa Working in Field_Fayed Masud Khan.jpg



Sawfish Conservation Society. (2020). Seeking Sawfish in Bangladesh: An Interview with Alifa Bintha Haque. Sawfish Conservation Society,May. 


Tisa, J. R. K., & Mansur, E. F.  (2020). Saving sawfish before it’s too late. Dhaka Tribune,October.


Daileda, C. (2021). Lost in the Shallows. Hidden Compass,Spring.


Chowdhury, A. R. (2021). On The Trails of the Great Sawfish. Santuary Nature Foundation,December. 


(2020). Noazesh Knowledge Centre, WildTeam celebrate World Oceans Day 2020. United news of bangladesh,June. 


Wight, A. (2021). Meet The Scientist Saving Sawfish From ‘Cancer Cure’ Myth.,April. 

Wight, A. (2021). The Scientist Saving Sawfish From ‘Cancer Cure’ .,April. 

Sanwari, A. (2021). Alifa Bintha Haque and the Sawfish Diaries. SEEMA,April. 


Jui, U. M. (2021). Alifa Bintha Haque: Working with fishers to save fish habitats. The Business Standard, May. 


Chowdhury, A. R. (2020). Marine biologists question gaps between science, research and action. The Daily Star, September. 


Chowdhury, A. R. (2020). The devil rays of Bengal: On discovering them, trying to find more and some accompanying adventures. The Daily Star, October


Chowdhury, A. R. (2020). The giants of the sea: all but gone: In search of stories of a fish soaked in myth and magic, and uncovering other ocean mysteries along the way. The Daily Star, May.


Chowdhury, A. R. (2021). Our local marine megafauna need urgent protection. The Daily Star, June. 


Chowdhury, A. R. (2021). Reversing the tide against Sawfish loss from the Bay of Bengal. The Daily Star, October.

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