A phenomenal fall in fisheries catch has pulled down the country’s seafood export by over seven per cent to $166.539 million in first half of this fiscal year.
According to Federal Bureau of Statistics, seafood export volume slumped by 8pc or 5594 metric tons over the same period to 64,508 metric tons from 70,102 metric tons during the first six months of last fiscal year. “Gradual decline strikes throughout this fiscal year,” Pakistan Fisheries Exporters Association’s (Pakfea)chairman Muslim Mohamed told Business Recorder on Monday.
Blaming undersized fishing for seafood export, he said:”Raw material is short against higher global demand.” The country exported seafood worth $179.685 million in July-December 2014-15, which is higher by $13.146m (7.32pc), the official statistics showed. “Scores of fish and shrimp species are reducing in overall fisheries landing,” Sindh Trawlers Owners and Fishermen Association’s (Stofa) president Habibullah Khan Niazi said.
In December 2015, the country’s seafood export, however, mounted by 8pc or $2.445m to $33.757 from $31.312m in December 2014. Seafood export volume grew to 13,592 metric tons in December 2015 from 13,333 metric tons in December 2015, up by 2pc or 259 metric tons.
“Landing of white pomfret falls by 60pc, black pomfret and ribbonfish 40pc each, heera and giser 90pc each,” Faisal said. Voicing concern over diminishing catch of different key exportable fish species, he opined the country would continue to face further fall in seafood landing and export during this fiscal year.
To a question, he said that the role of government’s fisheries and marine environmental institutions had been missing in clamping down on the illegal fishing to help species attain a full life. “No-one is there in the government with whom we could talk again to salvage the seas from fisheries extinction,” he deplored.
The country is primarily dealing in shrimp and fish trade with the global markets. Export of crabs and lobsters is at a standstill since their landing has exhausted. He said:”Some 90pc catch of crabs and lobsters has fallen away over the last 15 years, although the world markets had a great appeal for Pakistan’s fisheries.
“Trash fish is over 50pc of the total fisheries landing,” Habibullah said, adding that “the excessive hunting of undersized fish has reduced the growth of many fish species and many may turn extinct sooner than later”. He said the country was losing its fisheries on daily basis for want of official check.
He disclosed that the fish meal buyers were making advance payments to the boat owners and auctioneers to book their orders months earlier since there was a stiff competition. “Boats are now largely sailing for hunting trash fish,” he said, adding that the undersized fishing widely affected the exportable fisheries landing.
“It is not what the government’s institutions are unaware of rather there is none to pay attention to the worsening marine resources fall, which is rapid and unchecked,” he said, adding that “there are no fisheries research and stocks surveys even to assess the availability of fisheries in the seas”. The fish meal business is thriving on the falling fisheries, he said.
He sought an official ban on the trash fish hunting across the country and urged the government to review its marine policy. “At least 10,000 fishing boats operate from Keti Bunder [Sindh] to Jewni [Balochistan] that all are responsible for the slump in fisheries landing,” he added.
Source: Business Recorder