Dolphins are some of the friendliest mammals known to mankind. They are intelligent creatures and have a keen sense of comprehending human communication. It is pitiful that it has recently been discovered that 12,000 dolphins are killed annually due to the use of large gillnets between Pakistan and Iran’s coasts, according to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan and the Australian Marine Mammal Centre. With each fishing trip, up to four dolphins are entangled facing probable death and the entire species is put closer to the risk of extinction by uninformed or greedy fishermen. This is ideally where the role of a regulatory body comes in to mitigate the harm caused to non-target marine life on fishing excursions.
That Pakistani fishermen continue to use large gillnets on high seas despite their use being prohibited by the UN is highly unfortunate. For years there have been reports of great harm being caused to marine wildlife due to the use of such gillnets. As the lobby to protect Pakistan’s nature is weak or practically non-existent, the practice of using such gillnets has continued. The situation calls for immediate action by marine biologists and the Fisheries Development Board (FDB). The unnatural deaths of dolphins, due to neglectful practices by fisherman and the lack of oversight by regulatory bodies are disturbing the natural progression of the marine habitat which can offset the survival of other species. The FDB, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock and other authorities concerned must view this as a warning for the threat of extinction of dolphins and must put a stop to their unnecessary culling. Ethical practices must be incorporated into policy and need to be communicated to and employed by all stakeholders. Pakistan has vast beauty and nature to offer the world, but ecological aspects have to be examined in order to preserve them. Likewise, it is also high time to explore the realm of ethics to inform our policies.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2015.
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