A seminar entitled ‘Privatisation of waters and industrial fishing by deep-sea trawlers’ was organized by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) in a Karachi hotel on Tuesday. It was chaired by PFF leader Mohammad Ali Shah, and speakers included the likes of former senator Taj Hyder, Jan Mohammad Buledi, leader of National Party and member of the Balochistan assembly, Professor Noman Ahmed, and Fishermen Cooperative Society Director Haji Shafi Mohammad Jamote.
Speakers — environmental experts, elected representatives and fishermen leaders — described deep-sea fishing as disastrous for the coastal economy of Sindh and Balochistan and called on the government to ban it completely. They also urged the government to review its policy of allowing deep-sea fishing into Pakistani territorial waters and canceling the licenses of deep-sea trawler owners.
Quoting from a report, Mohammad Ali Shah said that, if deep-sea trawlers were to continue worldwide, fish stocks would be exhausted by 2048. At present, 70-80% of fish stocks are already being destroyed due to the misuse of deep-sea trawlers, he claimed, thus depriving small fishermen of their livelihood.
Jan Mohammad Buledi, said that a large mafia was involved in the deep-sea trawling business, using its influence to protect its interests when the Balochistan government was formed in 2002. He urged all the stakeholders to join hands to fight the criminals who are exploiting the coastal resources of Sindh and Balochistan.
Other speakers confirmed the need for unity of intent. They said existing policies were serving the interests of global capital alone, while the interests of the majority of people are being ignored. The situation, they argued, will not change unless all stakeholders are united in their resistance against the forces of economic oppression.
They also stressed the need to draw up a sustainable fisheries policy and to meet the social and economic needs of fishing communities by liaising with their representatives
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF)