‘Pakistan eighth largest exporter of shark fins’

There should be a national plan of action to ensure conservation of sharks, says speaker

Our Correspondent March 28, 2016
The global demand for shark meat is increasing and Pakistani fishermen are capturing more whale sharks to meet it. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Pakistan is ranked as eighth highest exporter of shark fins and is considered to be an important shark fishing nation, said WWF-Hong Kong global shark programme leader Dr Andy Cornish.

He was speaking at first-day of a workshop on the conservation of sharks at the Pearl Continental hotel on Monday. The three-day event has been organised by World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) in collaboration with the climate change department.

There are a handful of locations in the world where whale sharks aggregations have been reported, said University of Karachi Institute of Marine Sciences assistant professor Dr M Shoaib Kiani. Pakistan is one such location. The sharks have been recorded to be present in Churna Island, Ormara and Jiwani, he claimed.

Raising awareness

Gillnetting is one of the major causes of high mortality among endangered species such as sharks, remarked WWF-Pakistan marine fisheries technical advisor Muhammad Moazzam Khan. Fishermen have many a times killed these 'gentle giants' to save their nets. WWF-P initiated a campaign to create awareness among fishermen and now they rarely kill sharks, he added. Sharks are not legally protected in Pakistan, but now that fishing community considers them an important marine animal and avoids killing them for extraction of liver oil, he claimed.

Local and global demand

During the last few decades shark resources have substantially declined, said WWF-P coordinator Umair Shahid. "Some of the shark species have become critically endangered and have been exploited beyond their sustainable limits."

Cornish also said that the global demand for shark meat is increasing, especially since new markets have emerged in South America. This will have a serious impact on shark fishing in the developing countries. There should be a national plan of action to ensure that shark are conserved globally, he stressed.

Data reveals that there has been an over-exploitation of marine resources, especially sharks and rays, said marine fisheries department director Waseem Khan. The current stock assessment survey shows that fish stocks have decreased to one-third of that recorded in 1980s.

He called for immediate measures for conservation and re-building of these resources. He also suggested that in order to restore the fish stocks, the existing fishing fleets should be reduced by 50 per cent.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th,  2016.


Uzair | 4 years ago | Reply JChaudhari it is hard to tell from your message why you are congratulating our country, but if you are doing so with the assumption that being a large exporter of shark fins is an achievement, you are quite wrong. Shark fin hunting is an incredibly cruel practice wherein sharks have their fins cut off and then thrown back into the sea to die a painful death. This practice has lead to a massive decline in the shark populations worldwide, just so some people can eat fin soup. We humans are truly the most vicious and selfish of all species.
JChaudhari | 5 years ago | Reply Congratulations to Pakistan. We are an important player in world. I wish we could also do similarly in cricket, hokey, and games etc. I think it will happen and we will be supreme again. Let us look ahead and rejoice.
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