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Fishery and fishing industry plays an significant part in the national economy of Pakistan. With a coastline of about 814 km, Pakistan has enough fishery resources that remain to be developed. Most of the population of the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan depends on fisheries for livelihood. It is also a major source of export earning.Fishing industry is the managed by the Fisheries Development Commissioner (FDC) under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MFAL) of Government of Pakistan. The office of the FDC is responsible for policy, planning and coordination with provincial fisheries departments and other national and international agencies such as Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission. The marine subsector is overlooked by Marine Fisheries Department (MFD). The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) is engaged in the research of the industry. Some universities in the country are also involved in basic fisheries researchINTRODUCTIONA fishery is an entity engaged in raising and harvesting fish, which is determined by some authority to be a fishery.A fishery is typically defined in terms of the “people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats, purpose of the activities or a combination of the foregoing features”.Fishing is one of the oldest occupations for people who live near lakes, rivers and seas; with the progress of civilization, fishing communities started breeding fishes on farms this is also known asaq ua culture.FISHERY POTENTIAL IN PAKISTANPakistan is endowed with rich fishery potential. It is located in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and has a coastline of about 1,120 km with a broad continental shelf and its Exclusive Economic Zone extends upto 200 n. miles from the coast. Total production from inland and marine waters is approximately 0.60 M. tons.Pakistan has many marine and inland fishery resources. The potential was estimated at 1 million tonnes/year from the marine subsector alone. The commercially important resources include near 250 demersal fish species, 50 small pelagic fish species, 15 medium-sized pelagic species and 20 large pelagic fish species. In addition, there are also 15 commercial species of shrimp, 12 of cephalopods and 5 of lobster. The effect of the Indus River Delta on the marine resources of the coastline of Sindh is substantial, as this river system has been transporting enormous quantities of nutrients and sediment to the continental shelf for centuries. Pakistan has an extensive inland water areas system which is mainly dominated by the Indus River. These water bodies, depending on their type, possess varying potential for development of the inland and aquaculture subsectors. Inland water bodies, like dams, water locks, reservoirs, rivers, lakes and ponds cover an area of approximately 8 million hectares.CULTURED SPECIES OF FRESH WATER FISHIn the past, most fish farmers stocked their ponds only with indigenous species such as•Catla (Catla catla)•Rohu (Labeo rohita)•Mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala) and•Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)•Mahasheer (Tor putitora)More recently, two fast growing species are•Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus)•Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix),have been introduced for culture under modern polyculture systems to increase the fish yield per unit area. These two species have good economic values; have gained a reputation and became popular amongst the producers as well as consumers.Two species of trout namely•Brown trout (Salmo trutta) •Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)are cultured in NWFP, AJK and NA.MARINE WATER FISH•Sharks•Drums•Croakers•Cat fish•Skates•RaysTYPE OF FISHERYThere are two types of marine fishing:•SUBSISTENCEFISHING is when the fisherman & his family consume the fish they catch . Subsistence fishermen use conventional techniques like a traditional net and a small wooden sail boat.•COMMERCIALFISHING is when the fishermen sell their catch to earn money and is their sole source to earn income. Here fishermen use gill-netters and mechanizedINLAND FISHINGInland fishing is practiced on almost all the rivers and lakes in the country. In addition the large reservoirs behind dams, or abandoned river or irrigational channels.The main fishing centers are:•Manchar lake.•Kairi (Keenjhar) lake•Haleji lake.•Reservoirs of Mangla and•Tarbela dams.•River Indus at Sukkur, Kotri and•Thatta.FISH HARBOURS OF PAKISTANThe major fish harbours of Pakistan are•Karachi Fisheries Harbour is being operated by Provincial Government of Sindh.•Karachi Fish Harbour handles about 90% of fish and seafood catch in Pakistan and 95% of fish and seafood exports from•Korangi Fish Harbour is being managed by Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.•Pasni Fish Harbour being operated by Provincial Government of Balochistan.•Gwadar Fish Harbour being operated by Federal Ministry of Communication.•Fishery development boardPAKISTAN ECONOMY AND FISHERIES CONTRIBUTIONFishery plays an important role in the national economy. It provides employment to about 300,000 fishermen directly. In addition, another 400,000 people are employed in ancillary industries.The fisheries sector as a whole contributes to about 1percent to the country’s GDP and provides jobs for about 1percent of the country’s labour force. It is also a major source of export earning. In July-May 2002-03 fish and fishery products valued at US $ 117 million were exported from Pakistan. Federal Government is responsible for fishery of Exclusive Economic Zone of Pakistan. In addition, It is also responsible for making policies, inter-provincial co-ordination, planning, research, quality control, training, exploratory fishing, stock assessment, fisheries management, fleet improvement, data collection and export etc.Pakistan as an earner of foreign exchange. Imports of fish are negligible, whilst the value of exports of fishery products was about USD 196 million in 2006. It contributes only 0.3 per cent to overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 1.3 percent to agricultural GDP and less than 1 percent to national employment.During 2003 – 2004, 104 937 tonnes of fish and fishery products valued at US$ 156 254 millions were exported from Pakistan.Pakistan’s economic recovery has gained further momentum during the fiscal year 2004 – 2005 when its GDP grew by 8.4 percent with the economy expanding at its fastest rate in two decades. The exceptionally strong growth was due underpinned by factors such as macro-economic policies, a growing domestic demand, renewed confidence from the private sector, fiscal discipline and competitive exchange rates.FISHERY UNITSThere are 29 fish processing units in Pakistan with storage capacity of 10,000 tons, out of these 25 units are locate in Karachi of Federal Government provided intelligentsia and technical assistance to seafood establishments for improving their processing conditions in line with various EU / international standards. Through this process, 8 establishments have already improved their conditions and were approve to export seafood to European Union countries. In addition, another five plants have almost upgraded their conditions and others are also undertaking changes in their facilities to comply with EU / international standards.FISH MARKETThe marketing chain for fish is more or less similar to those of other agricultural commodities. Products are sold into the market to wholesalers andthen onto retailers and end consumers through agents working on commission basis. Farmed fish tend to be marketed either at the farm gate, through middle men or during open auction where ice-packed fish sent to fish markets after harvest were sold. Buyers can be members of the public, retailers, wholesalers, agents for processing plants or exporters. Fish markets are very common in Sindh, at selected locations in Punjab; all markets are under the control of the local administrations.Rohu (Labeo rohita) has a substantial local market; good market size is usually 2 kg+ up to a maximum of 3 kg. Prices tend to decline when the fish is more than 3 kg in weight; other factors include freshness of the fish and the supply/demand situation in the market. Best prices are achieved during the winter months. Carp price ranges from US$ 1.5 – 2.0 per kg in local markets.Local consumers generally prefer freshwater fish over marine fish because of their familiarity with river and inland farmed fish as well as the fresh condition of the product. This difference is reflected in both wholesale and retail prices where freshwater fish sell at a higher price than marine fish.SAVE PAKISTAN FISHERY•The only way to save the fishing industry in Pakistan is to form a separate Ministry for Fisheries. Currently, this department is a secondary part of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and almost neglected as a ‘vestigial’ organ. The formation of a separate ministry for fisheries will not only ensure that whole-hearted attention is paid to this important foreign exchange earning industry of Pakistan, but will also end the disparity and disharmony found between its federal and provincial care takers who want to shift blame for their failures on others.•All brands exported from Pakistan to the EU or anywhere else in the world should be registered with the government and only those brands that are pre-inspected for quality by the authorities at all stages of its production should allowed to be exported.•Most of the fishery units are obsolete with very old machinery and rotten cold store insulation. The equipment used for essential fast freezing to preserve export products and to extend their shelf life are in poor shape and their function is non- uniform and sub-standard. We recommend a program to upgrade the current ice-chilled system with industry standard Refrigerated Sea Water Systems.
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