ISLAMABAD – The Marine Fisheries Department, Karachi did not issue any licence for fishing beyond the territorial water in the sea during the last five years despite the fact the country earned millions of rupees through exporting fish and fisheries products during the preceding years.
Marine Fisheries Department is an attached department of Ministry of Maritime Affairs, which controls the fish and fisheries activities beyond territorial water in the sea, i.e. beyond 12 nautical miles. According to the official sources, it did not issue any licence for fishing during the last five years. Pakistan has been allowed to catch fish and fishery products for which the fisheries department issues fishing licences and this department did not issue any fishing licence to operate in the ZoneIII during the last five years.
It is to mention here that Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Pakistan has been divided into 3 zones as Zone1 (from 012 nautical miles) is being controlled by the provincial government. ZoneII, from 1220 nautical miles has been declared as buffer zone (Federal Jurisdiction) and ZoneIII, 20200 nautical miles is controlled under the federal jurisdiction.
According to the official record, 155,091 metric tons fish and fisheries products were exported during the year 2016-17 and the country earned 394 million dollars. Similarly, the country earned 451m dollars during the year 20172018 by exporting 198,420 metric tons fish and fisheries products.
It is to mention here that the fish industry has two components; one is the fishermen engaged in fishing on fishing vessels in both the provinces (Sindh and Balochsitan) which are around 400,000 in number while in other categories of fish industry (processing industry, fish harbour and transportation of fish etc) around 600,000 are engaged in this profession.
The individuals engaged in fish industry are either having their ancestral profession or entered in this business as investors/entrepreneurs. Some of them are crew members on fishing boats or some own fishing boats and fish processing plants, according to the officials.