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Government of Sindh pledges conservation of marine biodiversity by establishing MPAs in the province

Posted on 21 November 2017

Karachi, November 21: While addressing a workshop on sustainable fisheries management, organized by WWF-Pakistan and the Sindh Fisheries Department in collaboration with Engro Foundation on the occasion of World Fisheries Day, Sohail Akbar Shah Secretary, Livestock and Fisheries Department, Government of Sindh stressed the need for the development and implementation of a broad-based fisheries policy which is required for accelerated development of the fisheries sector in Sindh. He pointed out that the government of Sindh is taking measures to modernize the fisheries sector including establishment of a floating jetty, modern fisher’s village and desalination plants at major landing centres. He further added that WWF-Pakistan should continue to work in close collaboration with the Fisheries Department of Sindh so that appropriate conservation and management measures are taken.

Ghulam Muhammad Mahar, Director General Sindh Fisheries Department gave an overview of the status of fisheries in Sindh and suggested measures for its improvement. He stressed the need for promotion of aqua-culture in creek areas of the Indus delta as well as other areas along the coast of Sindh and Balochistan.

Dr. Babar Khan, Regional Head (Sindh and Balochistan), WWF-Pakistan appreciated the efforts of the Fisheries Department, which in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan and other relevant agencies is working to improve the fisheries sector in the country. He urged stakeholders to promote fish farming in inland waters as well as in the coastal areas so that the fish processing industry may get additional raw material for processing.

While, Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Adviser (Fisheries) provided details of WWF-Pakistan’s observer programme and its contribution to the conservation of endangered, threatened and protected species. He shared that a large number of turtles, dolphins, sunfish and mobulid rays are safely released by WWF-Pakistan trained fishermen, which is a significant contribution towards conservation of marine biodiversity. Khan also stressed the need to establish additional Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Sindh and Balochistan. Presently Pakistan only has one MPA - Astola Island. He urged the immediate declaration of Miani Hor and Churna Island as two potential MPAs by the provincial government of Balochistan and Cape Monze by the government of Sindh in addition to Indus Canyon by the federal government.

The government of Sindh pledged to protect marine biodiversity by establishing a network of marine protected areas in Sindh province. The Secretary, Livestock and Fisheries, Government of Sindh led the signing of the pledge, followed by the Director General, Sindh Fisheries and Marine Fisheries Department and officials of key government departments and academia.

Muhammad Wasim Khan, DG Marine Fisheries Department, Government of Pakistan threw light on the depleting fisheries stocks in Pakistan and stressed the need to reduce fleet size as well as an effective ban on shrimp fishing during June and July. He also presented the results of surveys conducted by the Marine Fisheries Department, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization. Moreover, Khawar Parvez Awan, Director Fisheries Inland Government of Sindh informed that a hatchery for restoration of aquatic biodiversity in Manchar Lake was established by the government of Sindh and eight other hatcheries are also operational in other parts of the province.

In his closing remarks, Ashiq Ahmad Khan, Scientific Adviser, EvK2CNR (Pakistan) and former Chief Technical Advisor, WWF-Pakistan urged government departments, academia, communities and other stakeholders to develop strategic action plans to conserve marine and aquatic resources in Sindh and Balochistan. He also called for nominations of potential areas that can be declared MPAs in the near future. ‘To meet AICHI Target 10, a network of MPAs should be established in coastal areas of both provinces,’ he added.

On this occasion, an appreciation award was presented to WWF-Pakistan trained skipper Mohibullah in recognition of his tremendous efforts for recording fisheries catch data and release of endangered, threatened and protected species.

WWF-Pakistan

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