Speakers urge govt to rethink fisheries policy

Claim the govt’s inaction will result in loss of livelihood of thousands of fishermen


Our Correspondent August 31, 2015
PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh government should immediately impose a ban on fishmeal factories that are involved in purchasing trash fish. It should also ensure that 'black laws' won't be introduced in the new fisheries policies. 

This was stressed by Mohammad Ali Shah, the chairperson of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF). He was speaking at the 'District-Level Interactive Dialogue on the Implementation of Recommendations for Sustainable Fisheries Policies', organised by the PFF at Mehran Hotel on Monday.

Shah was of the opinion that such illegal business activities practically promote harmful fishing practices. "Sale and purchase of trash fish is banned in other countries," he added.

"New laws should be introduced," he urged, adding that old ones should also be implemented.

"Sindh Assembly makes laws but doesn't implement them," said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Sindh Assembly member, Syed Hafeezuddin. He said that garbage dumping in the sea has created a miserable situation for the inhabitants of Ibrahim Hyderi.

The PTI lawmaker said that there is more corruption in the Workers' Welfare Board than the police as it doesn't work for the welfare of the labour class, including the fishermen.

"We have to rethink deep-sea fishing policy," he pointed out. According to the deputy director of the Sindh Fisheries Department, Aslam Ansari, there was a decrease in the export of sea food of up to Rs20 million. He informed the participants that there are around 12,000 big fishing boats in the open sea.

"The fishermen also use banned fishing nets. Their count is at least 7,000," he disclosed. Asad Iqbal Butt of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan urged that the assemblies should introduce laws for the welfare of the people and ensure their due rights. He said that fish are disappearing due to the absence of laws. "The fishermen community is losing its source of livelihood," he added.

Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research's Shujauddin Qureshi pointed out that the labour department doesn't provide rights to the fishing community. "Social security is the basic right of any worker." He said that fishermen work day and night but government institutions don't provide health, education facilities and shelter to their families.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2015. 

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