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Pakistan’s Marine Fisheries Sector Needs Urgent Up-Gradation: PCJCCI President

We can collaborate with China to boost fisheries to tap export potential, says Shah Faisal Afridi

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LAHORE– Pakistan can make a quantum leap in export promotion of the country by upgrading its marine fisheries sector, that needs urgent attention, in collaboration with China.

It was observed by Mr Shah Faisal Afridi, President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tuesday while addressing a meeting of PCJCCI’s think tank.

The meeting was attended by Mr Ahmed Hasnain, Senior Vice President, Mr. Salahuddin Hanif, Secretary General and a number of the Executive Committee Members of PCJCCI.

Mr Afridi said SMEDA had developed a viable strategy for development marine fisheries sector during its initial operational phase, but the strategy could not be implemented fully because of the political turmoil.

Now, keeping in mind the sea potential of Gwadar and CPEC, the marine fishing sector needs urgent up-gradation, for which Chinese methods of fishing and the fish processing technology can be highly useful, he added and offered to bring Chinese expertise and investment in fisheries sector in case the government assures hand-holding coupled with conducive policies.

He informed that some Chinese companies had already evinced their interest to enter into joint ventures for making modern boats, sheds, and ice for marine fisheries.

Mr. Ahmed Hasnain, Senior Vice President PCJCCI said that the Chinese way of fisheries development may curb illiteracy among fishermen by transferring modern technology for preserving and processing marine fisheries, which will ultimately bring prosperity to the fishermen by enhancing the competitiveness of our fisheries sector in the world market. He further said that over 90 percent of the fishermen community was illiterate and still following the centuries old method of “feel and See” for catching fish.

He said, they take their wooden hull boats in the shallow water, through their nets and leave it to the nature for getting fish.

Hence, most of the time they have to stay in the water for a whole of the week and return with very little or nothing at all, he said and urged to replace the primitive methods with modern techniques by equipping the fishermen with the modern navigation system to discriminate between the edible and trash fish apart from identifying species and size of the different fish.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Salahuddin Hanif, Secretary General PCJCCI said, China is one of the largest seafood-consuming countries in the world.

The total volume of frozen seafood processing industry in China is up to $60.2 billion with the imports accounting for 11.7 percent of the domestic demand, he said adding that the fisheries and allied industrial operations in Pakistan were the most important economic activities along the coast of Sindh and Baluchistanby supporting livelihood of about one million fishermen and their families living in rural villages under difficult conditions.

The situation needs urgent attention of the government to revamp the sector for enhancing exports and improving livelihood of the local fishermen, he said.— PRESS RELEASE