Sindh govt to uplift fisheries sector for increasing exports

The Sindh government has launched efforts to uplift the fisheries sector of the province to help increase its exports.

The fisheries sector has been struggling in the face of high cost of production as well as the restrictions imposed on fisheries exports from Pakistan by European countries.  

“We have sought suggestions from stakeholders on how to get the European Union to lift the ban on fish imports from Pakistan,” Najmi Alam, an adviser to the Sindh chief minister, said.

He told WealthPK that the Sindh government plans to impose restrictions on fishing during the months of June and July to boost fish populations. He said financial assistance would be extended to fishermen to be affected by the fishing ban period.

Najmi also talked about enhancing the functionality of the harbor and committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to implement the proposed master plan effectively.

Fishing is one of the most vital activities along the Sindh’s 352 kilometres coastline that contains 71% of Pakistan’s fisheries resources. The coastal waters are well-matched for fisheries production by means of the accurate salinity and temperature characteristics.

This coastline is an extremely productive area endowed with a great biodiversity due to a combination of riverine flow into the Indus delta and sub-tropical environment.

Fishery is a significant contributor to the agricultural economy of Pakistan. Marine catch is carried out through mostly motorized fishing vessels, which are operated from four fish harbors and nine landing jetties situated in Sindh and Balochistan.

However, Karachi fish harbor is the biggest of all and handles over 80% of industrial fishing fleets. Thus, Sindh coastline plays significant role in the total marine catch of the country.

Pakistan is gifted with a wide variety of fisheries resources, including 150 commercially important species. Most valued species are exported, while a major part of the total catch is converted into fishmeal for export, as well as for use in the local poultry as feed. The main export species include shrimp, Indian mackerel, ribbon-fish, tuna, sole and crab. 

Sindh is endowed with an immense variety of fisheries resources. 

“However, a number of constraints such as mismanagement, lack of enforcement of environmental laws, overexploitation, degradation of marine fisheries resources, poor handling techniques, practice of traditional gear, pollution, ineffective marketing system and remoteness to market hinder the growth of fisheries sector in the region,” said Badar Shah, an expert in fisheries.

Talking to WealthPK, he said that the government should take a keen interest in the sustainability of the fisheries sector. “Emphasis should be on boosting fish production, increasing export earnings, strengthening the fisheries infrastructure, increasing local consumption of fish, wisely utilizing untapped resources and, in particular, improving the socioeconomic state of the fishing communities.”

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