Marine fisheries resources over-exploited: FRAP report


A meeting for the Fisheries Resource Appraisal in Pakistan Project (FRAP) was held at the FAO premises in Islamabad on 9 January and chaired by Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping. A copy of the FRAP final report on the status of marine fishery resources was presented to the Federal Minister.

This report concludes that Pakistan's marine fisheries resources, though very productive, are over-exploited and not scientifically managed. It also emphasises that regulation of fishing effort is essential, and for that the increase in fishing needs to be curtailed, and then a process of significant reductions in fishing effort should be made. It is estimated that a reduction of fishing effort by 50% will result in doubling of the economic value of the fisheries resource.

Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister Bizinjo appreciating the efforts of FAO in compilation of the report said that fishermen need to be involved in the efforts aimed at improving the situation of marine fisheries resources in Pakistan. Patrick T. Evans, FAO Representative in Pakistan gave overview of the main features of the project. Welcoming participants he said the current report encompasses data from previous surveys in the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's well as in-depth surveys conducted from 2009 through 2015; "the clear trend for all commercial species is that they are being seriously over-fished and the long term viability of the resource is in jeopardy".

Participants at the meeting represented various federal and provincial government fisheries and marine life institutes and departments. The Fisheries Resources Appraisal in Pakistan project was initiated in 2008 through a Unilateral Trust Fund project of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN and the Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

The main components included:

a- program of fisheries-independent data collection through fisheries surveys;

1-Several activities to address the size of the fishing fleet, the amount of fishing effort exerted, and the catches landed from it; and training and capacity building for data collection, survey operations, fisheries analysis and stock assessment. The components were building blocks to provide the information for a comprehensive scientific report on the status and prospects of Pakistan's mare fisheries resources and management advice to re-build the countries' fisheries to support sustainable and economically productive communities and industries.