Fisheries Department seeks ban on boating in Rawal Lake

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Observer Report

Islamabad—Fisheries Department of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) has demanded removal of all boats from the Rawal Lake which were involved in illegal fishing.
Talking to media here on Sunday Deputy Director Fisheries Sadiq Buzdar said that there were over 150 boats in the lake, most of which were used for illegal fishing at night.
He alleged that the police department was not cooperating with fisheries department and it did not file FIRs against the people who not only indulged in illegal fishing but also misbehaved with the staff.
He said that with the passage of time population around the lake had increased and more boats were appearing on surface of the lake.
He said if the illegal fishing being done through the use of boats in the lake was stopped, the department could earn upto Rs 100 million per year from the licence fee.
He said despite lack of staff and required equipment, his department had confiscated 1800 nets used in illegal fishing during past one year.
He said since his joining the duty as deputy director, the department had earned over Rs 800,000 as licence fee.
He said often the fisheries department was blamed for failure to control illegal fishing but no body took notice of its financial constraints and shortage of staff and required equipment.
To a question, he said that the two boats of the department purchased in 1980 were in very poor condition and only Rs 200,000 per annum were given for purchase of petrol.
He said that he had only eight watchmen at his disposal who had to work overtime to patrol the lake.
However, he claimed that despite shortage of staff, his department had been doing its best to control illegal hunting of fish.
Moreover he demanded for establishing police check-post near the lake to control the illegal fishing.
Furthermore, he informed that if someone is caught from the Lake, Secretariat police have to be approached while if someone is caught from outside the lake around Bani Gala side, Bani Gala police have to be contacted.
He further said as per Fisheries Ordinance, the staff was authorized to have weapons for their protection but due to lack of sufficient funds, they were not provided the weapons.