As fishermen have continuously been expressing their concern over the constant use of banned nets, such as Bullo, Gujjo and Katra, which have been causing destruction to sea resources, the Sindh fisheries ministry started a crackdown against the use of the banned nets on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, provincial minister for livestock & fisheries Abdul Bari Pitafi monitored the department’s crackdown against the use of Bullo and Gujjo by fishermen on sea banks. “Marine resources in Pakistan are on the decline as fishermen are using banned nets for catches in the country’s seawater,” he said. Fisheries authorities seized four boats after finding prohibited nets on them, according to a press release issued by the ministry.
Pitafi told the fishermen that for a very little benefit they were posing risks to various species. “If fishermen do not stop using illegal nets immediately, they will lose their livelihood,” he said. “If necessary steps are not being taken today, the fishermen will have no fish to catch tomorrow.”
Secretary Livestock & Fisheries Aizaj Ahmed Mahesar, Director General Fisheries Dr Allahdad Talpur, Director Marine Saleem Akhter and other officers were also present during the monitoring of the operation.
Pitafi also checked licences and permits of various boats during the operation and directed the authorities concerned to take stern action against fishermen found violating the terms and conditions.
He said the Sindh government had imposed a ban on three types of fishing nets - Bullo, Gujjo and Katra – that were dangerous for the fish population because, by using them, fishermen ended up killing several tonnes of juvenile fish, small-sized fish and shrimps.
The secretary livestock briefed the minister about mangroves and sea pollution which was dangerous for marine. The minister directed the secretary to write a letter to the Sindh Environment Protection Agency for taking necessary measures in this regard, saying that pollution had emerged as the most serious threat to marine life in Pakistani waters. Small fishermen, who use wooden boats and depend on creeks for their livelihood, hailed the fisheries department’s actions against the use of banned nets.
In 1995, the Sindh government had imposed a ban on the use of the nets, but they were still being used by fishermen under the patronage of some influential persons of the coastal area, fishermen complained.
Fishermen groups, especially the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, have been pressuring the government for immediate implementation of a ban on dangerous nets. As the nets had holes of small size, it trapped premature fish and shrimps which hindered their growth, resulting in a 70 per cent decrease in fish and shrimp catch, they said.
Besides Karachi, the use of banned nets are exceptionally high in two talukas of Thatta district where Bullo and Gujjo nets were being indiscriminately used in the mangrove areas and creeks along the Sindh coast.