Congestion at Karachi harbour: EU proposed to build separate facility for catch unloading

Local fishermen have proposed to the EU to build a separate landing site for about 1200 small boats close to navigational channel as Karachi fish harbour has reached its peak congestion, which creates trouble in catch unloading. An EU delegation visited Karachi fish harbour last week to discuss the post-ban lift issues with the private and official stakeholders and listened to the fishermen proposal for constructing a separate facility off the harbour. 

According to fishermen, who attended the meeting told Business Recorder on Wednesday that the EU delegation received the proposal to consider an investment of around Rs 4 billion for the landing site development. “We do not know whether the EU will really go for that big investment, but all the fishermen present there communicated the delegation to review their proposal which will ensure an increased preservation of seafood,” they said. 

The fishermen have also set forth a number of options to the EU team if they feel inconvenience to direct spending for the fisheries project. “We informed the team about other options as well, which include providing loan to fishermen co-operative society, the EU may contract with the provincial government or the Ministry of Ports and Shipping or provide funds through a Unido project to develop the site,” they said. They said the proposed landing site is planned at open sea at a closer point for coming boats to unload their catch. “It is proposed at an open sea area [of about 50 acres] located between Manora Island and Salehabad which is more safe and secure part inside the navigational channel,” they pointed out. 

The volume of floating trash and pollution on the sea is less at the proposed site than that of the fish harbour, besides it is out of reach for an unauthorised or unconcerned person, that will help make secure the area, they said. “At present, people are coming and operating at fish harbour of mysterious identities with no checks by officials as a result the fishermen face a number of problems including soaring extortion incidents,” they added. 

The provincial government has failed to provide any basic facilities to the huge foreign exchange earning community of fishermen, they criticised, saying “the EU has also been proposed to build a road between the Bhit Island and Salehabad to facilitate the community with a better access to land,” they said. The project envisages a construction of a jetty, shed, refrigeration plant, and a road to connecting the landing site to rest of the city through land routes, they proposed, hoping “the project will help protect the small fishermen from extortion, theft of catch and other crimes which they face at fish harbour”. 

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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