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MSC certification for yellowfin tuna troll fisheries urged

Posted on 4 October 2017

Karachi,Troll fisheries for yellowfin tuna of Sur Bunder, Gwadar meets the criteria for Marine Stewardship Council Certification (MSC) as it is sustainable, manageable and eco-friendly. This was stated by experts during a two-day stakeholder consultation workshop focusing on the development of an action plan for fisheries improvement project (FIP) for troll fisheries inSur Bunder, Gwadar.

Dr. Babar Khan, Regional Head Sindh and Balochistan, WWF-Pakistan said that for the last few decades, fish stockshave declined drastically due to unsustainable fishing practices and increasing pollution. He was of the view that the Arabian Sea can support rich biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods and a thriving economy of the country, hence there is a need to conserve its precious resources. He alsoemphasized the need to promote alternative livelihood opportunities for fishermen to improve their living standards.

Speaking on the occasion, Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Adviser, Marine Fisheries WWF-Pakistan said that in the Indian Ocean only two fisheries are MSC certified,for instance pole and line tuna of the Maldives and Ashtamudi short neck clams of India. He informed that yellowfin tuna is the next potential candidate for this certification from Pakistan. He was of the view that MSC fisheries standards require that fish stocks are sustainable; with no harmful impact on the ecosystem and an effective management system is in place.In this regard, he added that troll fisheries do not have any major impact on tuna stocks and it is conducted on a small scale. ‘The Pakistan SeafoodExporters Associations (PAKFEA)supports this initiative and other stakeholders will also be taken on board,’ he added.

Giving an overview of MSC certification, Jo Gascoigne, Consultant,ME Certification (MEC) said thatit is a leading ecolabel and certification programme which is recognized internationally. It connects to markets around the world and is transformingseafood by incorporating quality and sustainability of certified fisheries. She further said that traceability is the hallmark of this certification and will aim to improve yellowfin tuna fish stocks in Pakistan. She urged that fisheries a co-management plan for troll fisheries willbe developed in which fishermen will alsobe part of the consultation process.

Faisal Iftikhar, CEO Fisheries Development Board said that fishermen inBalochistan own fisheries resources and manage them in the best possible way. He was of the view that the selection of the area of Sur Bunderfor troll fisheries will havea bigger impact. ‘In this regard, entire data collected through this fishery willbe of immense significance for Pakistan,’ he added.

Dr. Muhammad ShoaibKiani, Assistant Professor, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Karachi commented that in order to make a strong case for MSC certification of yellowfin tuna troll fisheries of Sur,there is a needto develop a clear strategy specifically targeting weaker aspects of this fisheries as indicated by MSC pre-assessment and scoping study viz. promoting active research to fill gaps, improving data quality and clarity, capacity building of enumerators of Balochistan Fisheries Department (BFD) and active promotion of trolling fishing method instead of gillnetting.

Other possible fisheries for MSC certification in Pakistan discussed during the event includedswimming crabsand razor clams.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Mahar, Director Centre for Coastal and Deltaic Studies, University of Sindh Thatta Campus; Abdul Rahim, Assistant Director – Environment, Gwadar Development Authority; Tariq Ikram, Leading Processor Pak Export Karachi; Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Chief Foreign Aid, Planning and Development Department Balochistan and others spoke during the event.


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