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Govt Should Address Aquaculture Fishing Issues

Aquaculture is a method of fish farming that includes the full cycle of the marine life production. In this business, the fish farmers cultivate and harvest both aquatic animals and aquatic plants for human consumption.

The government agencies started noticing globally that wild life marine stock had started declining due to overfishing. That situation of stock decline has caused a shift in focus from wild life fishing to aquaculture. The aquaculture / fish farming in marine environment is considered as a sustainable option to save marine life and also generating revenue. South Asian countries have both seaports and rivers that provide a suitable environment for aquaculture.

Aquaculture is a good and sustainable source of income for low skilled human resource. In 2016, ‘captured wild fisheries’ of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh reported 7.2 million metric tons while the aquaculture figures for these countries were reported as 8.06 million metric tons. Total fisheries production in 2016 was 15.3 million metric tons for India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Unfortunately as of 2016, Pakistan’s total contribution to production of aquaculture and wild fisheries is 4.36%.

On the whole, these south Asian countries have a minimal contribution for Fisheries industries, if we compare the data with China and Far East Asian countries. In 2016, China had reported total fishery production as 81.5 million metric tons. Pakistan is blessed with the largest irrigation system in the world. Ponds and lakes for fish farming can be easily built. Pakistan’ rivers in Sindh and Punjab and new Gawadar port coastline – all have a huge potential to provide further opportunities for fish farming in both marine environment and fresh water reservoir.

Pakistani government needs to take serious consideration of investment in aquaculture and should provide further support to fish farming industry. There is also a possibility of increasing the output easily because the business environment is relatively suitable in Pakistan. In 2020 pandemic situation, most SME companies have been struggling for survival and millions of people have lost the jobs. People have reduced their spending while their major part of spending is food, education and housing. Fish farmers can produce more fish for food production companies so supply can be increased in food service sector. According to UNO, India’s fishery sector data is showing 13 million jobs recorded for this sector in 2017 and women were representing 32% of its total work force. If we compare the data with Pakistan, this sector is providing 1% employment of total population in national labor.

In my humble opinion, fish farming sector can provide more employment opportunities for labor class, if Pakistani government seriously creates government policies and extend sustainable support for fish farming. Generally, these fishermen belong to lower class and they survive on income generated from daily sales. However, if these fishermen are provided with easy loans to start a fish farm and provincial government starts providing free courses on learning advanced techniques to cultivate and harvest fishes, this sector could help in erasing poverty among fishermen and generate a sustainable income for them. These fishermen face major challenges due to natural disasters like earthquakes, monsoon and floods because these fishermen live in groups, near the coastal lines or that the fishing farms are created close to the rivers. These fishermen need proper training for stocking and harvesting the ponds correctly. This will help them to reduce the losses, while running the fish farms in safe environment. Some of the best practices in global fish farming industry are careful planning of ponds, where the continuous flow of water is available to get rid of fish waste. In Philippines, the farmers are cultivating live fish stock inside the rice farms, which is an efficient method to deal with scarcity of fresh water resource and having a greater output. Rice is one of the major crops in Pakistan. If we apply the same technique in Pakistan on wider range, we can increase the output of fish farms in fresh water reservoir and farmers can earn extra income.

Recently another technology has gained a lot of popularity in aquaculture called biofloc link. Small investors are having a startup of fish farms with Biofloc technology, which is a cheap and efficient method of cleaning water waste and maintaining water efficiency. It increases growth and survival rate of fishes inside the tanks or inside the farms. Since this technology has been introduced, the farmers do not need to change 100% of dirty water inside ponds or tanks. The probiotics (good bacteria) used in this method will kill harmful germs and ensure the good quality water.

*For more:

http//www.fao.org/fishery/countrysector/naso_pakistan/en http://www.fao.org/state-of-fisheries-aquaculture https://vikaspedia.in/agriculture/fisheries/fish-production/culture-fisheries/types-of-aquaculture/biofloc

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Naya Daur