Sindh Minister urges Federal Govt to pay attention to Fisheries Sector
Karachi, April 27, 2015 (PPI-OT): Sindh Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Jam Khan Shoro has said that although the federal government collects all the taxes on various exportable products including aquatic products being exported from Sindh, but unfortunately no funds were being issued by the Federal Government for development of this important sector which was the key reason behind its poor performance.
Seeking KCCI’s assistance in effectively advocating the case of Sindh province’s fisheries sector, Jam Khan Shoro urged the federal government to pay attention to this essential sector which has the potential to play a major role in enhancing country’s exports and was capable to solely run the entire economy of Pakistan.
Jam Khan Shoro was speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Monday. President KCCI, Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Acting President Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Limited, Sultan Qamar Siddiqui, Former President KCCI AQ Khalil, Chairman Special Committee for My Karachi Exhibition, Muhammad Idrees and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.
Jam Khan Shoro further pointed out that Sindh province was blessed with great resources, such as aquaculture-friendly environment along with extremely hardworking and highly experienced fishermen. He noted that despite having a massive coastal belt of 1,000 kilometers which was almost equivalent to the coastal belt of Thailand, Pakistan only earns around 300 to 400 million dollars by exporting marine products whereas countries like Thailand and Vietnam have been earning billions of dollars every year through this important sector of the economy.
He said that it was only due to efforts made by Sindh government without any support of the federal government that European Union lifted ban on Pakistan’s fish exports. Sindh government invested heavily on revival of fisheries sector which finally resulted in ending EU’s ban imposed since 2007 for failing to meet specifications.
The Minister highly appreciated the efforts made by Karachi Chamber’s Research Department in 2008 under the Chairmanship of Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan who carried out extensive research and compiled a detailed report, suggesting measures on how to meet the specifications set by the European Union so that the ban could be lifted.
Highlighting the action taken by his Ministry against factories using fish seed for production of poultry feed, the Minister informed that although numerous raids were performed and factories were also sealed but the factory owners of poultry feed approached the honourable court and acquired stay orders which refrain his Ministry from taking action against people who were really responsible for destroying the fish seed and under-sized fishes by encouraging fishermen to use zero-sized prohibited nets.
In a country like Switzerland if a fisherman was caught hunting under-sized fish, a heavy penalty of $35,000 is imposed but unfortunately in Pakistan, fishermen and trawlers fearlessly use prohibited nets to catch undersized fishes and fish seeds. The overall situation has worsened to such a level that some of the most precious fish species have completely disappeared from the coastal belts of Pakistan, he added.
Jam Khan Shoro also sought Karachi Chamber’s support and cooperation in dealing with those industrialists whose factories were producing poultry feeds from fish seeds which was being done only in Sindh province and not being practiced in any other part of the world, not even in Balochistan.
Touching upon the Livestock sector of Sindh, the Minister pointed out that the area of Tharparkar was blessed with 6.5 million livestock including cattle and goats but unfortunately thousands of litres of organic milk was being wasted due to lack of proper processing and transportation facility.
He invited the business community of Karachi to invest in Tharparkar district by setting up processing plants for organic milk and make arrangements for its transportation which will surely be a lucrative business for the businessmen and industrialists of Karachi.
Earlier, while welcoming the Minister, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra expressed deep concerns over dismal performance of fisheries sector whose exports were around $337 million as compared to the available potential of more than $1 billion.
He was of the view that improper handling of caught fish and shrimps on board was a cause for resultant lack in quality and wastage. “Poor quality and contaminated ice is often used on the vessels which results in wastage of about 5 percent of the catch”, he added. He suggested that Pakistan needs to reduce post catch wastage, improve its fishing techniques and explore feasibilities for marine aquaculture in order to boost its exports.
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