September 21st, 2020
The federal government has once again given licenses to Chinese deep-sea fishing trawlers to fish in the economic zone along the coasts of Sindh and Balochistan.
Rejecting the federal government’s decision to issue these licenses, the Sindh coastal fishermen have decided to agitate against the move.
As a result, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) and Pakistan Bonafide Fishermen’s Forum have been protesting against the arrival of 20 Chinese deep-sea trawlers.
Chairman PFF Muhammad Ali Shah says, “As per data provided by Pakistan Marine Fisheries Department, 70 to 90 percent of the country’s fisheries had decreased from 2009 to 2016. In this situation, the issuance of licenses for deep-sea fishing trawlers will affect at least three million fishermen,” he said
According to Shah, fishing in the deep sea would not only affect the livelihoods of fishermen, but also marine life.
“The federal government’s issuance of licenses for deep sea fishing in international waters is also illegal,” says Shah. “Authorities are carrying out an economic massacre of 2.5 to 3 million fishermen to give employment opportunities to 3000 people.”
Criticizing the fishing strategy of deep-sea trawlers, Shah said these trawlers will hunt the fish of their choice and throw the rest of the dead fish back into the sea which will ultimately destroy the ecology.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, fisherman chief Haider Jamot says that these days fishing season starts from the month of August and if the government allows deep-sea fishing trawlers then the local fishermen will not get any fish.
“All fishermen from Balochistan to Badin have rejected this new policy as we all will be affected by it,” he said.
Fatima Majeed, Senior Chairperson of PFF added that fisherwomen also have an important role to play as they are always at the forefront. She said that according to an international survey, more than 70 percent of fish stocks have been depleted and fish are becoming extinct and their livelihoods are at risk.
“The coastal belt and delta are badly affected by climate change,” she said. “Sea pollution, deforestation of mangroves, harmful nets, and over-fishing have had serious negative impacts.”
According to Majeed, 70% of the women of the coastal belt are domestic workers while a large number of young girls and women are now working in factories.
“Without the support of the women, many families and homes of the fishermen suffer from hunger and misery,”