There are 46 states worldwide that do not border oceans and have no excess to seas. While Pakistan is among those fortunate states that borders 1090kms long coastline. However, the estimation of the better utilization of these coastlines can be determined through the ports and fish harbors in that particular areas and how much economy is being generated through fishing sector.
But unluckily Pakistan is much behind in these all above mentioned sectors. India for instance borders 7500km long coastline and having 13 mega ports and 127 ports of middling size. Likewise, 7 mega fish harbors and 35 fish harbors of middling size. Whereas in Pakistan, there are only two ports including Karachi Port and Port Qasim respectively. There are four fish harbors while one of the harbors has been closed permanently.
The former Finance Manger of Gwadar Port Authority, Ghulam Farooq Baloch while talking to Balochi Zind stated that meager fund has been allocated for fisheries development in country. While its share in Gross Domestic Production (GDP) is only 0.3 percent. Certainly, allocated funds are insubstantial for fishing sector that generates the economy of %300 millions for country annually. However the attention of government on this sector can create new opportunities of earning for too many people and economy of $1billion can be generated.
Former Finance Manger of Gwadar Port Authority, Ghulam Farooq Baloch
Gulam Farooq further said that Pakistan’s 70 coastlines are present in two districts including Gwadar and Lasbela while Sindh province employs 30 percent of the coastlines.
Despite having 70 percent coastlines of the country the fishing sector of the province is waiting for the attention of federal and provincial governments. Owing to the negligence of government, people related to fishing are living low standard life.
Moreover, Gwadar is major share holder among the coastlines of Pakistan. The area of Gwadar coastline is 600 km that covers 55 percent of the total coastline of Pakistan and 78 percent of Balochistan. This coastline is located on the Arbian Sea. Arabian Sea owing to its production is perceived has the most affluent coastline. But unfortunately, negligence on the part of federal and provincial governments has made this coastline completely unproductive. Thereby, this affluent coastline could not change the lives standard of local fishermen. If government gives this coastline due status and importance, it may generate handsome revenue for the country.
Zarif Baloch, speaking with the reporter of Balochi Zind stated that the area of 780km coastline that starts from Jiwani coastline and ends on Gadani coastline is located on the outskirts of Arabian Sea.
Mr. Zarif Baloch social worker talking about fishermen of Balochistan coast.
In the tenure of Dr Abdul Malik Baloch when he was Chief Minister of Balochistan, approved a resolution unanimously from Balochistan Provincial Assembly to rename Arabian Sea as Bahera Baloch, (Baloch Sea). However, the name of the sea was changed by the government but none of the previous governments paid serious attention to the miseries and hardships of fisheries sector and fishermen.
However, nearly 10,000 ships are registered on the coastline of Balochistan that are related to the profession of fishing. While the fishermen of Balochistan prefer small boats of nearly 15 meters long that the fishermen use for fishing.
The fishermen of the remote areas of these coastlines including Kalamat, Sarband, Kapar and Sonmiyani go for fishing in their small boats. The later at night sales their fish production in local markets that transfer fish to international markets. The reason behind the utilization of small boats is that they can be purchased on reasonable prices. Too many fishermen are related to this profession who go in deep sea to earn livelihood for their children. Besides small boats, launches too are utilized for fishing purposes. These launches are well equipped with modern day technologies. Fishermen go in deep seas and stay there for months and store their production in cold storages of launches that worth in billions.
The fisherman of the coastlines of Makran uses fiber boats for fishing purpose. These fiber boats are less expensive and easily accessible. The fishermen of the outskirts of Makran coastlines make their two hands meet through these fiber boats.
Naseem Baloch while speaking with the reporter of Balochi Zind said that there are nearly 50 kinds of fish worldwide. Whereas 38 kinds of these species can be found in the seas of Balochistan. Despite these resources, the fisherman of Balochistan lives the life of abject poverty. There are no alternatives for the people of these areas and they are perceived as highly skilled in this particularly profession. Thereby, the inhabitants of these coastlines in their early ages attached to this field and could not gain education. The boys in their teen ages go for fishing in deep seas and earn livelihood for their families. They live there entire life in this condition and in hard work. But their life standard would not improve and along with education they become deprive of health facilities too. These fishermen are not in the category of Labor, thereby they are deprived of the basic necessities of life. The labours have demanded from the government of Balochistan to consider them labors so that they can gain basic necessities of life.
Dostain a professional fisherman while speaking with the reporter of Monthly Zind Baloch stated that Sea is like our mother. As a mother breeds her children, in a similar way we have born and bred on the coastline of Gwadar. We come out of our houses early in the morning to catch fish. Fish catching is our source of income. The residents of Gwadar are totally dependent on this profession. But owing to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), we are stopped sea authorities to reach deep seas to catch more fish.
Dostain a professional fisherman while speaking with Ghaffar Hoth at Jetty Gwadar.
He said, we have no issue with CPEC but we demand from government to not create hurdles in our fishing that is sole source of income for our families. They said if our demands would not fulfill we would resort to strike in favour of our legitimate demands. East Bay Express way that is intended to ensure the development of the roads of Gwadar, but he said we have strong reservations on this project because through this project our houses would be demolished. He termed this project a well-planned conspiracy against the centuries hold residents of Gwadar.
The President of National Party and former Chief Minister of Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik said that our party has demanded alternative places for fishermen of Gwadar so that they can continue their works uninterruptedly. Besides that other issue facing by the fishermen is that the fishermen of Sindh province illegally enter into the sea jurisdiction of Balochistan and catch fishes. Government should take strict action against them and shun their unlawful entrance into the jurisdictions of Balochistan’s seas.
Former Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch talking about problems fisheries sector
Dr Malik said owing to the absence of international fish market in Balochistan, the precious fishes of Balochistan exported to the markets of Karachi. The revenue generated from these fish go into the exchequer of Sindh government and Balochistan government could not gain its benefits.
The Director General Fisheries Government of Balochistan, Mohammad Ibrahim while speaking with Balochi Zind stated that totally 61848 fishermen are registered with government of Balochistan while other fishermen are unregistered. He said there are 8 fishing stations with Fisheries department. Besides the number of boats and fishing fleets is 9031 and launches are also available with department. The Balochistan Assembly has given approval of eight landing sites. These eight landing sites would be promoted in future. While there are four fish harbors in various areas including Gadani, Dom, Pasni and Jiwani respectively. While there are no fish harbors in Gwadar, there are just jetties and the fishermen of Gwadar would be given alternative places for fishing. CPEC would not affect their profession. He said, funds allocated for fisheries department are meager. We have 26 patrolling boats among them 13 are functional and 13 are non functional. He said government should provide us ambulance boats as accidents in sea are frequent.
Director General Fisheries Government of Balochistan, Mohammad Ibrahim while speaking with Balochi Zind
Owing to the absence of Fishing according to the International standards, Pakistan cannot access the European Fish markets. The fish markets that Pakistan exports fish are Sri Lanka and China. While the European counties demands fishing in fiber boats. There is no processing unit in Balochistan. There are private processing units. Government should establish a processing unit so that the fishermen can conveniently continue their profession and play their role for the development of country. Also contributed by Banaras Khan Reporter.