Fishing Industry


Pakistan has a coastline of 527 nautical miles and has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending offshore to 200 nautical miles. There are two main fishing areas Karachi Sindh extending south east from Karachi to the Indian border (about 180 miles) and the Makran coast west of Karachi and along the coast of Balochistan to the Iranian border (about 350 miles).

The Sindh Coast with Karachi harbour as its main base, is characterised by broad continental shelf (extending about 6 nautical miles out from the coast to a dept of 200 meters) and marked by innumerable small creeks and Delta Indus river, and by a muddy, easily trawlable bottom.

The Mekran Coast line is sparsely populated, formed by large bays and has narrow (25 to 35 miles wide) abruptly descending shelf, (1500 to 3000m) and many widely dispersed landing places. The bottom is mostly rocky and fishing is only possible within the narrow pl the shelf.

The total fish production of Pakistan is in the order of 500,000 metric tons of which about 80% is marine fish. Shrimp constitute about 10% of the marine catch. Most of the shrimp catch is frozen and exported to Japan, USA, UK, Singapore, Begliu, France etc. The demand for shrimps is increasing in the world market whereas, its production from natural sources in Pakistan is in stage of decline.

The export of shrimp in various forms is worth over 1661 million rupees. Shrimps are a source of high quality protein which is about 18-20% of fresh shrimp. In Pakistan shrimp production appears to have stabilised at around 20-30thousand metric tons annually and the catch per unit effort has dropped with the increase in the number of trawlers (Year book of statistics 1992). This evidence suggests that production level has reached to a maximum sustainable yield which can not be further exploited by increasing the number of fishing boats.

In the past decade aquaculture (mariculture) technology for marine shrimp farming has transferred to fastest from growing industries in South East Asia. India and Latin America.

Fish Production

Pakistan fish production has registered a steady increase as shown in the following table.

         (000   Percentage
       metric   Increase
Year    tons)

1988   445.4     +4.1
1989   446.2        -
1990   482.9     +8.2
1991   518.7     +6.0
1992   553.1     +6.0

Total catch in 1992 was estimated at 541,600 metric tonnes as compared to 279,000 metric tonnes. 1980 The annual growth rate worked out to about 5.68 per cent. With a 550 mile long coastine, Pakistan's fish production could be much greater. At present fishing is done mostly within a 12 mile belt because the fishing vessels are small and not fit to stay out for sufficiently long periods. Since the fishermen lack training and the boats are also not equipped with refrigeration facilities, a substantial quantity of fish and shrimp are caught and then destroyed even before they mature. it is estimated 25 per cent of the catch becomes stale because of the lack of cold storage facilities before it reaches the retail market. This waste be avoided by increasing the capacity which meets only five per cent of the requirements at present. Other f actors which are mainly responsible for the low quantity as well as quantity of fish catch in Pakistan are:-

a) Fish catching is continued even in breeding season which spoils the prospects for better catch. b) Fishing is done in a narrow area in the sea and a large number of trawlers compete among themselves in a limited area. c) The trawlers used for fishing are of small size and, therefore, are less efficient for commercial catch. …

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