The project has improved the understanding of the effects of using sluice gates through three main research areas. Firstly, hydraulic operations associated with sluice gates were assessed over an annual cycle in order to determine the purpose of each water exchange in relation to rice growing and how this compared with seasonal movements of fish.
Secondly, movement of major fish species were recorded in the vicinity of active sluice gates using catch monitoring and mark-recapture techniques, to determine how recruitment of adult fish to compartments could be enhanced by alterations in sluice gate operations and design.
Thirdly, a community-based participatory research approach was used to examine patterns of fishing and rice growing inside and outside compartments in order to determine relative dependency on agriculture and fisheries. Existing decision-making mechanisms related to sluice gate operation were investigated and methods of improvement and incorporation of findings into the decision making process were assessed.
The project produced guidelines for development of a procedure for the optimal operation of sluice gates. These guidelines take account of both the need for irrigation water and the requirements for the fisheries, and seek to integrate the two. The guidelines aimed to achieve uptake of the best practice procedures by local communities via promotion to intermediary NGOs and government agencies.
Dissemination of research results at a local government level workshop resulted in an agreement to alter sluice gate operation. Research results have also been published in a local Pabna newsletter (in local languages), and a three page project results brief was disseminated to over 100 key government and non-government national decision and policy makers in the area of water management, fisheries and agriculture.