Fisheries sector occupies a very important place in the socio-economic development of the country. It has been recognized as a powerful income and employment generator as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary industries, and is a source of cheap and nutritious food besides being a foreign exchange earner. Most importantly, it is the source of livelihood for a large section of economically backward population of the country. The main challenges facing fisheries development in the country includes accurate data on assessment of fishery resources and their potential in terms of fish production, development of sustainable technologies for fin and shell fish culture, yield optimization, harvest and post-harvest operations, landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels and welfare of fishermen.
Fishery is a State subject and as such the primary responsibility for development rests with the State Governments. The major thrust in fisheries development has been focused on optimizing production and productivity, augmenting export of fishery products, generating employment and improving welfare of fishermen and their socio-economic status.
Fishery Sector in Pakistan
Aquaculture is a rather recent activity in Pakistan and is still in its infancy; nevertheless there is immense potential for development of the sector. Despite its vast fresh, brackish and marine water resources only carp culture is practiced in inland waters and only on a limited scale, carp are cultured in earthen ponds, using mostly extensive farming practices with very little inputs. In Pakistan, the fish fauna is rich but only seven warm water species and two cold water species are cultivated on a commercial scale. Trials experimenting with shrimp culture have been carried out in the Indus delta region but it did not succeed due to the non-availability of hatchery-produced seed.
The fisheries sector as a whole contributes to about 1percent to the country's GDP and provides jobs for about 1percent of the country's labour force. Freshwater carp farming is the major aquaculture activity in three of the country's five provinces (Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa. The northern mountains of Pakistan have good potential for trout culture but production in these colder regions is still very small.
Aquaculture in Pakistan is basically a provincial responsibility; at the central level fisheries is the responsibility of the office of the Fisheries Development Commissioner (FDC) working under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL). The office of the FDC is responsible for policy, planning and coordination with provincial fisheries departments and other national and international agencies. The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) is the country's largest research organisation and is responsible to MINFAL. Some universities in the country are also involved in basic fisheries research.
History and general overview
Aquaculture in Pakistan is a recent development and in many parts of the country the management of the sector is still poor with culture practices varying across the different provinces. Two Asian Development Bank (ADB) assisted projects have assisted in strengthening the institutional structure, with infrastructure development such as the development of hatcheries and juvenile production, model farms, transfer of technology, human resource development as well as the strengthening of extension services.
Aquaculture has also received a substantial amount of government investment over the past decades and facilities are now in place that can provide the basis for a major future expansion in aquaculture production.
With the exception of trout culture in KHYBER-PAKHTOONKHWA and the northern region, virtually all aquaculture currently carried out in Pakistan is pond culture of various carp species. Pakistan has not yet begun any coastal aquaculture operations although there...