Federal Government has launched its proactive role to save marine life especially fisheries in coordination with Sindh and Balochistan governments in the light of the detailed survey conducted by World Food and Agriculture Organization on threats to the marine life in Pakistan’s territory.
Federal government had hired the services of FAO experts in 2008 for a comprehensive study; sensing that there were many threats to the marine life caused by different actors. This task was completed by FAO in 2015 at the cost of dollars 5.8 million, said Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo at a press conference here at Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Head Office on Tuesday.
Before this media session, the Minister was presiding over a meeting of stakeholders of fisheries including the officers from the fisheries departments of Federal, and Sindh and Balochistan governments.
Director General of Ports and Shipping Asad Rafiq Chandna, Director General, Federal Fisheries department, Muhammad Wasim Khan, Director, Sindh Fisheries department Muhammad Aslam Ansari and Director, Balochistan Fisheries department Qazi Muhammad Akbar were also present.
Minister for Ports and Shipping said the FAO report had identified the use of banned nets—bullo and gujo- as the major threat to very potential fisheries sector of Pakistan. These internationally restricted thick nets were being freely used by trawlers and large boats. They had played havoc with the fisheries; just sweep fish bread as well from hatcheries. This causes simply a wastage of fish as the breed they brought to the shore was of no use but to sell to factories for making chicken feed.
He revealed that the report has suggested that if fishing in Pakistan’s sea-waters continued in the same manner, the fishing sector would be destroyed with a little chance to recover. “We don’t want this report to become just a decoration piece in official cupboards,” he remarked adding that the Ministry of Ports and Shipping had pursued Sindh and Balochistan governments on this very important issue. After 18th amendment, he mentioned, these two provincial governments were the main players to save the fisheries within their limits.
After the above amendment, up to 20 nautical miles area of the sea came under the control of Sindh and Balochistan governments, and the main fishing was being done within this belt. Sindh and Balochistan governments would have to take special steps to save marine life especially the fisheries sector. In certain periods of breeding we would have to impose total ban on fishing for its survival and growth, he said. Pakistan could earn a big amount of foreign exchange from fishing sector besides providing jobs to a large population, he said. The minister said Federal Government was playing its best possible role to save fisheries and other marine life within Pakistan’s territory. DG Ports and Shipping had talked to Sindh and Balochistan governments and requested them to ensure implementation of their laws dealing with fisheries.
He categorically said that since 2005 Federal Government had not issued any license to a trawler including foreign one for deep-sea fishing. And, under fishing policy of the Federal Government no trawler could do fishing within 12 nautical miles off the coast. If any trawler was involved in fishing in this belt, it violated the law of land.
Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo concluded that his Ministry would submit the report of this (Tuesday) meeting to the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers of Sindh and Balochistan. Accordingly, further line of action would be jointly chalked out to effectively address this serious challenge to the country.