The government would spend Rs13.7 billion on three mega fisheries sector development projects in order to enhance fisheries production by exploiting the huge untapped potential of aquaculture in the coastal line and fresh waters of country.
The government in consultation with its development partners and international agencies including Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Programme, United Nations Industrial Development Organization have identified different areas in provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
It has initiated three projects for the development and promotion of shrimp farming, trout farming and catch culture to enhance the productivity of fisheries as well as enhancing the livelihood opportunities for the communities living in the costal and mountainous region for fresh water fish farming, said Federal Secretary Dr Hashim Popalzai.
Addressing the National Symposium on ‘Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food and Livelihood in Pakistan’, organized by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations he said fisheries sector has huge potential, but it was neglected by all the previous governments.
Dr Hashim said that the development of fisheries sector was a key priority within the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy as well.
Recently, he said that the government has launched a comprehensive Rs309 billion “Agriculture Emergency Program”, under which three of its thirteen development projects would be executed in fisheries which include projects on incubating shrimp farming, cage culture for fish species and trout culture.
He said that Asian Development Bank has also expressed its keen interest in assisting government initiatives for aquaculture development for providing livelihood opportunities for the communities living along these potential areas.
He said that the current government has attached higher priorities with fisheries sector and introduce first fisheries policy for the development of shrimp farming, trout farming and catch culture in the country.
He lauded the initiatives of FAO for organizing the event assured that government would extend all possible supports in its efforts to promote the aqua culture in the country.
Speaking on the FAO Pakistan Representative Mina Dowlatchahi said that FAO has been helping the Government of Pakistan with the fish stock in the country, as a number of communities along the coast depend their livelihoods on fisheries and aquaculture.
These two sectors are high potential for livelihood, employment, decent work; for men, women and youth, and provide food security. There is high potential for sustainable development and attain the SDG for life under water, she added.
She said that this forum provided by FAO facilitated knowledge and information sharing to adopt sustainable practices to boost the fisheries and aquaculture in Pakistan.