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Fishermen for clampdown on use of illegal nets




  • The persistently falling seafood yield is set to pull down the country’s already low fish and shrimp export as fishermen want the authorities to clamp down on use of illegal nets that may turn the sea into barren in coming years. The country seafood export fell by $2.314 million during the last fiscal year 2012-13 to $317.612 million, which the continuing low landing of quality fish and shrimp is believed to further push down in future unless the nets are weeded out. 

    “This season catch is average or just little higher than that of the last year, but trash landing grows every day,” says President Sindh Trawlers Owners Fishermen Association (Stofa), Habibullah Khan Niazi. 

    Stofa has a fleet of about 1300 big vessels trawling up to Iran border, and mainly searching for shrimp and fish on the sea. Being the largest fisheries association, scores of its members are found involved in trash catch business. 

    “About 0.7 million kilograms of trash fish land every day at the harbour in the face of authorities whereas the matured sized seafood catch significantly reduced to maximum 1000 kilograms,” says Niazi. 

    Seabed trawling with thing fishing nets phenomenally scaled down number of a several fish and shrimp species for the last some years, he says, adding that “the undersized seafood grown as the fishermen don’t care of hunting a half inch of fish”. 

    Shrimp yield fell some 70 percent and a number of fish species up to 85 percent of which kiddi, a costly suwa, white and black pomfrets, mushka, heera, dother, etc, he points out, blaming “the illegal use of small fishing nets to trap juvenile species”. 

    “The hunting of juvenile fish and shrimp began at sea and creeks of the province for the last several years clogged the fisheries growth,” he says, adding the fishers sector has the potential to grow to Rs200 billion in next three years if bad nets were wiped off. 

    He fears the government intention should be clear to streamline the fisheries sector with hard hitting policies against all illegalities including implementing its writ to discard the use of illegal nets to help grow marine life. 

    The deadly trawling, he says, stretches from Sindh to across Balochistan waters up to Iran’s maritime border, seeking a permanent end to the menace to safeguard the marine life. 

    “We give proposals to the government officials as to how cope with the growing sea pollution and landing of trash fish but nothing comes out of meetings. The government shows little interest towards the sea its protection,” says Niazi. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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