KARACHI: Speakers have stressed on the need for seeking environmental accreditation and ecolabels for seafood in a workshop arranged by WWF-Pakistan on "MSC certification: a way forward for improving fisheries sector in Pakistan" at a local hotel in Karachi. However, journalists were not invited for the event.
Ali Dehlavi, Interim Head, WWF Pakistan while speaking on the occasion has pointed out about the environmental accreditation and ecolabels for the seafood which is becoming necessary for the increased access to the world market. Maritime Stewardship Council (MSC) certification is the most acceptable environmental accreditation system which has accredited about 300 fisheries world over.WWF-Pakistan is endeavoring to get troll fisheries for yellow fin tuna of Sur (Gwadar) to get MSC certification for which a Fisheries Implementation Programme (FIP) is being implemented with the collaboration of Department of Fisheries, Balochistan.
While, Prof. Mukhtar Ahmad Mahar, Director, Centre for Coastal and Deltaic Studies, University of Sindh, Thatta campus has pointed out that razor clam fishery of Sindh creeks has potential for seeking MSC certification Centre for Coastal and Deltaic Studies in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan which is conducting survey and collecting necessary information so as to this get place fishery for pre-assessment. This fishery supports about 1,000 families in the creek system of the River Indus. 'Razor clam is exported in live and frozen to China, Korea and other southeast Asian Countries', he added.
Muhammad Moazzam Khan, The Technical Advisor (Marine Fisheries) WWF-Pakistan revealed that stocks of demersal fish have been over-exploited in Pakistan and there seems to be no possibility of getting the demersal fisheries seeking MSC certification whereas there is a possibility of obtaining MSC certification of some large pelagic and small pelagic fisheries. Sardinella fisheries of Balochistan and crab fisheries of some coastal villages have immense potential because of their limited operation and lesser impact on environment. According to.Mr Khan maximum potential for seeking ecolabel exists for molluscan fisheries of Pakistan.
WWF-Pakistan is implementing initial fisheries improvement plan and pre-assessment for swimming crab fisheries of Sapat and Malan along Balochistan coast. Similar work is being done for razor clam of Indus creek and Miani Hor. In addition, it is planned to seek accreditation for hard clam and ivory shell fisheries of Sindh. It is also planned to undertake assessment of jellyfish fisheries of Keti Bundar and Damb for seeking MSC certification. It is expected that obtaining MSC Certification for some important fisheries of Pakistan will boost in the export of seafood from Pakistan. Participants from Fisheries Department, universities and research organizations appreciated the efforts of WWF-Pakistan in seeking MSC certification for important fisheries of country as it will help in improving livelihood conditions of the coastal communities.