KARACHI: The fish and shrimp landing has dropped drastically along Sindh coast and to protect the interest of local fishermen, a buffer zone from 12 to 20 nautical miles has been created where no foreign fishing vessel can operate stated Baqaullah Unar, Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Costal Development Department, Government of Sindh.
Presiding follow-up meeting on matters related to Deep Sea Fishing on Wednesday at EPA Complex, Unar has showed deep concern on depleting marine resources and said that today's meeting has been called upon to address the issue with consultation.
Stakeholders from Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Fisheries Department, Government of Sindh, Pakistan Customs, Boat Manufacturing Association, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and others were also present in the meeting.
Unar further stated that a better coordination between all the concerned line departments is needed and said that proper execution is of utmost important as we have relevant laws but we need a will to impose them in letter & sprit.
Commander Amjad Rais, Director Operations, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency said that PMSA has been playing the pivotal role in implementation of Deep Sea Fishing Policy as PMSA strictly monitors licensed foreign and local fishing trawlers through air and surface surveillance.
DG Fisheries Department, Government of Sindh reported that in last 10 years no fishing license was granted by the Federal Government as the fish stock depleted at a rapid pace as a result of use of illegal fishing gears in creeks that are the breeding areas for fish and shrimp. This is why since 2006 no license under Deep-Sea Fishing Policy was issued by the government.
He said that due to use of fine nets, about 70-80pc of the fish caught comprises of young fish and shrimp and that a stock assignment on marine resources has been carried out in the past that showed about 70 pc marine resources had already been finished.
Instead of stopping the ilegal mass scale fishing and deep sea trawlers, during the meeting Unar suggested that the ban on fishing which is usually imposed for 2 months by Fisheries Department Sindh should be extended up to three months in order to preserve the shrimps, fishes etc. Thus, the small scale fishermen will suffer directly.
DG Fisheries Department Sindh also mentioned that the Fisheries Department is trying to have one window operation to facilitate all concerned stakeholders.
Commander Amjad Rais, Director Operations, Pakistan maritime Security Agency(PMSA) said that foreign trawlers come into a buffer zone & they destroy unwanted store of fish, also foreign trawlers are involved in transshipment, all these practices have negative implication on ecosystem, he informed the audience.
Representative from IUCN Pakistan gave a suggestion that proper installation of Turtle Exclusive Device TED on trawlers, PMSA representative briefed that PMSA has decided that after 31st of July, 2017 no trawler will sail into the sea without having proper TED.
Dr Ali Raza, Deputy Commissioner Pakistan Custom has said that ban on illegal fishing can only be effective through proper implementation; he suggested that a coordination committee can be formed to look in to the matters related to illegal fishing etc.
Matters related to confiscated boats, treatment plants etc were also discussed in the meeting. PMSA representative said that no new license has been issued for the registration of new boat in order to encourage and save local boat industry.
Published in Daily Times, July 20th , 2017.