Coastal people, hailing from different neighboring villages, participated in a simple gathering held at Sachal Hall in Ibrahim Hydri of Karachi to celebrate World Fisheries Day 2012. The programme was organised by the Pakistan Fisherfolk’s Forum (PFF).
PFF General Secretary Saeed Baloch, addressing the gathering, said that due to Islamic month of Muharram, they were organizing this gathering just to express solidarity with the world fishermen community, who on the day are also organizing colourful cultural events as per their traditions.
He said, “We have a plan to have a similar gathering after Ashura in Badin in which community people from all over the country will participate. There will be colourful events, music, and a review of the challenges the community is facing”.
He appreciated the community people, for continuing their struggle for conservation of mangroves and other natural resources despite fears and hostile attitude of certain land grabbers.
He announced taking the issue of developing a separate jetty for fishermen of the old coastal village, Gizri, who are being forced to stay away from their traditional routes, to open the sea to them for a catch.
Tahira Ali said fisherwomen who played a role in the fishing sector had been nudged to stay idle at home, because of increasing commercialization in the fishing sector. According to her, hundreds of community women need to have alternative sources of earning to ease their families’ financial hardship.
She said that the fishing community, both men and women, traditionally and socially, used to live freely and work together, but now, due to the mounting pressure of poverty, they were losing their resources of livelihood.
Majeed Motani asked the community people to stay alert and play a role in the politics to change their lives. He said, those who had had been elected to parliament by the community votes had failed to bring even a little change in their lifestyles.
“You are the valuable voters. You should recognize the right from the wrong persons while casting your votes in the elections. No outsider will come from outside to help you come out of crisis of poverty and joblessness,” he said.
He asked the people to protect resources like mangroves and not to use harmful nets to destroy fish stocks. He appealed to them to convince their neighbours to avoid eliminating marine plants, which are a natural a shield to protect them from calamities.
Fatima Majeed, Sami Memon, and others also spoke on the occasion.
Meanwhile, on the occasion of World Fisheries Day, the Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority (KFHA) in a simple ceremony held at the harbour, distributed plastic baskets (five to each person) to Hora boats free of cost.
In addition, five insulated plastic boxes and 10 plastic crates at subsidized rates have also been distributed to each hora boat. These items would be distributed to 1000 hora boats by KFHA.
Abdul Ghani Jokhio, Managing Director (MD), Karachi Fish Harbour (KFH) said that Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority (KFHA) was committed to facilitating the fishermen and upgrading the Karachi Fisheries Harbour.
He told the community people that the Government of Sindh had approved a development scheme of Rehabilitation & Renovation of the Karachi Fisheries Harbour with a total cost of Rs555 million under which 539 large and small boats had been modified and machinery and equipment, including stainless steel hand pallet trucks, forklift trucks, insulated plastic boxes, plastic fish crates, plastic baskets had been procured to facilitate the fishermen for fish handling/transportation and to meet the requirements of European Union.
He said “World Fisheries Day draws attention to overfishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of our marine and freshwater resources. It was responsibility of all the community people, boat owners, and other stakeholders to play their role.