Fishery 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.
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 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.
There are about 16,000 fishing boats in coastal area of Pakistan which operate in shallow coastal waters as well as in offshore areas.
These fishing boats undertake fishing trips lasting for few hours to about 25 days depending upon type of fishing. Total production from inland and marine waters is approximately 0.60 M. tons.
FISH HARBOURS OF PAKISTAN
The 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 Pakistan.
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.
FISH PROCESSING PLANTS.
There 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.
A substantial quantity of fish is consumed locally. In addition, small pelagics and by-catch of trawl fishing is being used for production of fish meal. Remaining balance is exported in salted dried, frozen and chilled form. The data for consumption of fish is annexed.
Fish and fishery products are processed and exported to over 50 countries. About 30 – 35% of the fish and fishery products are exported to European Union countries. Japan, U. S. A. China, Saudi Arabia, U. A. E. Malaysia, S. Korea, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Singapore are other major importing countries. The export data is annexed.
Fish export has showed an increasing trend in the past many years, however, a substantial decrease has occurred during 1998-99 which is attributed mainly due to glut in the international market and because of financial crises in the Southeast Asian countries. Export of seafood is facing many a problem notably among these are:
Post harvest losses are high due to handling of fish catch on board and long voyage time.
Congestion at Karachi Fish Harbour. There are more than 16,000 fish boats operating in Sindh zone.
The storage capacity is only 10,000 tons which is not sufficient to cater the future requirements.
Pakistan is exporter of raw material or semi processed fish / seafood.
Marine aquaculture is non-existent, however, fresh water aquaculture is fairly developed.
The Government of Pakistan is taking various measures to increase the export of seafood over US$ 500 million within next two years. The measures are:
Up-gradation of fishing vessels to control post harvest losses.
Provision of modern peeling sheds for providing raw material to fish processing industry.
Flake ice plants on harbours.
Intensive marketing efforts at international level.
Promotion of marine aquaculture.
Human resource development through training.
Regular monitoring of resources through stock assessment surveys and exploratory fishing.
Procurement of handling and cleaning equipments for fish harbours.
Construction of coastal highway.
In order to comply with EC Regulations and to control the quality of seafood, Government of Pakistan promulgated Pakistan Fish Inspection and Quality Control Act, 1997 and Rules, 1998 thereunder.
EPB’S ROLE IN FISHERIES
EPB has been the main coordinating agency in improving the hygienic conditions in Karachi Fish Harbour and up-gradation of fish processing units to meet European Union and international standards.
Ministry of Commerce / Export Promotion Bureau provided assistance to all agencies concerned with export of fish / seafood from Pakistan. Th following assistance / funds were provided by EPB to Karachi Fish Harbour to meet the European Union requirements regarding hygienic conditions at the harbour:
EPB imported 10000 fish crates at the cost of Rs. 7.0 million and which are being used in auction halls, fishing trawlers and processing units. EPB is also importing 200,000 fish boxes to meet the requirement at Karachi Fish Harbour.
EPB provided an amount of Rs. 5.0 million to Marine Fisheries Department, Karachi for procurement of appliances and equipments for up-gradation of Quality Control Laboratory to meet European Union requirement.
EPB procured 200 fibre glass trolleys for handling of fish / shrimps at Karachi Fish Harbour for an amount of Rs. 3.7 million.
EPB provide Rs. 1.0million for up-gradation of auction halls in Karachi Fish Harbour.
EPB procured hot water pressure washing machine for cleaning of boxes and auction halls and foot operated taps at a cost of Rs. 0.386 million for Karachi Fish Harbour.
Besides EPB played a very vital role alongwith Marine Fisheries Department in upgradation and approval of 7fish processing units by the EU Inspection Mission during the month of March’ 999