World Fisheries Day today: overfishing, pollution pose serious threats to Pakistan marine life
By: ANWAR KHAN
Excessive fishing, pollution and illegal hunting techniques are posing serious threats to Pakistan's vulnerable marine life while there is continuous decline of mangroves. World Fisheries Day is being observed today (Friday) as else where in world on the theme of 'over-fishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of marine and freshwater resources'.
WWF-Pakistan on this occasion has expressed its concerns over the perilous state of the country's fresh water resources and serious threats to the species' existence. "Habitat degradation, pollution and introduction of exotic fish species have seriously affected the productivity of natural freshwater bodies," it said, adding that most natural freshwater bodies have already been overfished.
Fisheries expert, Muhammad Moazzam Khan, called for taking urgent measures to cope with the growing dangers to marine and freshwater species in the country. He said the excessive hunting has threatened the various shrimp species. "Fishing grounds are excessively being ploughed by shrimp trawling fleet," he added.
Stock assessment expert, Umair Shahid has found that the introduction of exotic fish species in the lake waters has scaled down the reproduction of native species seriously.
He said the country with a view to restoring natural ecosystem must undertake a programme aimed at controlling exotic species. "Production of native fish species has seriously been decreased in Pakistan and there is a serious threat to exotic species which are now proliferating in major lakes and water bodies," he added.
Moazzam Khan also proposed that fishermen must equip their boats with trawling excluding devices (TED) in key shrimp hunting grounds along Sindh and Balochistan coasts to help create protective zones for the species to reproduce and survive. Considering climate change as a major threat to the coastal communities, WWF-Pakistan has initiated European Commission (EC) funded programme, called Climate Change Adaptation Programme. This programme is aimed at mitigating the climate change risks faced by vulnerable communities in coastal areas of Sindh (Keti Bunder and Kharo Chan, Thatta District) and Balochistan (Jiwani, Gwadar District) through the implementation of interventions related to adaptation and capacity building.
The WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with SFI (Smart Fishing Initiatives) has started another programme for conservation of fisheries resources, reduction in by-catch and international/regional co-operation in addressing the issues. Working with fishermen communities, the WWF-Pakistan has collected details about by-catch of tuna fish and has also found that offshore waters of Pakistan are highly rich in marine turtle species.
Source: Business Recorder