Pakistan’s Blue Economy and Baluchistan

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Naseebullah Achakzai
Pakistan is blessed with a deep_pockated coastline of 1046 KMs where the lion share (approximately 772 KMs) of this coastline is located in Balochistan. In spite of this, the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Pakistan is 240000 squire_kilometers., which was further extended by the UNO body (UNCLOS) in 2015 by 50000 squire_kilometers, which has colossal potential for catching Fisheries and its farming. Notwithstanding that Pakistan has the potential of blue carbon which can cope up with climate change and global warming. Possessing considerable strategic prominence, Balochistan can be a gateway for Marine Cargo. Additionally, Pakistan has bewitching Marines beaches, Islands, and other destinations which can attract tourists and can further dispense ample amount to the economy. With the massive coastline with reasonable Wind speed, Solar capability, and water potential for Tidal energy, the needs of the crippling energy can also be fulfilled. The world blue economy is about 24 trillion dollars annually, whereas, Bangladesh and Indian Maritime contribution is 6 billion USD and 7 billion USD respectively___ contrary, Pakistan earns only 450 million USD despite its potential of 100 billion USD. Inconsolably, the federal and the provincial governments exceptionally, Balochistan have failed to utilize these assets. Fish catching and aquaculture are the backbone of the blue economy, which provide not only a livelihood to the inhabitants living along with the coastline areasbut also succour economic bloom. Pakistan is rich in a myriad of Fish species, where Sixty types of Fish species and Ten kinds of Shrimps are found in large numbers. In spite of this copiousness, its share in the blue economy is equal to none, as this sector contributes merely 0.4 percent to the GDP. Contrary, Pakistan has the potential to bag 2 billion USD annually through Fisheries sector. Despite having Eight major catching lands and 25 sites, and two third of coastline, Balochistan shares only 34 percent of Fish catch. President Arif Alvi has recently alarmed that due to overfishing, 90 percent of Fish stock in the coastal areas of Pakistan had dominated? Furthermore, the appalling situation has further expressed in the IUCN report (2019), which says that 20 to 25 percent of catched Fish is wasted in the country due to multiple reasons. Despite a copiousness of resources, the aquaculture in the country is deplorable. As per the report of FAO 2020, Pakistan is the sixteenth largest producer in aquaculture. A sad reality is that there is no commercial Fish Seed available in Pakistan, which has provided fuel to the pathetic aquaculture in the country. Lack of training of formers, bad governance, unavailability of new technology, scarcity of funds allocation, packing facilitation, poor infrastructure, transportation, traditional Fish Catching methods, and dearth of Ice have proved to be cataclysmic for the Fishing industry. Climate change and global warming have alarming signals for the devastation all over the world in which Pakistan has no exception. The rank of Pakistan in most affected climate change countries is five. Science has proved that the weapon of Blue Carbon(Sequestration) can help in diminish climate change, and combating global warming. It absorbs Carbon 40 times faster than territorial forests. The wetlands of Pakistan have an abundance of Mangroves (which is the sixth_largest in the world by occupying 250000 Hectors), Salt Marshes, and seagrasses which can help in fighting climate change. Peter Marceadis of Deakin University Australia observes that Blue carbon is a powerful weapon in the battle against climate change and that Pakistan has plentiful blue carbon which has to be discovered. Marine Tourism is another sector that can not only generate jobs but also helps in economic growth. Unfortunately, Marine tourism in the country has been sidelined. The Fifteen Islands of Pakistan, catching Fishes, sailing boats cater, Mud Volcanoes, beach sports such as Scuba diving, sailing, swimming, water skiing, surfboards, and the beautiful beaches have the potential to attract the domestic and foreign tourists. The waters of Gwadar and Karachi has the capability for cruise ship voyage. By taking productive steps such as a friendly environment, security, and facilitation, the marine tourism industry in Pakistan can increase from 0.3 billion USD to 4 billion USD annually. World trade transportation has been dominated by water where 80 percent of its Cargo is transported through water, whereas Pakistan transports its 95 percent goods through Water. Pakistan Shipping Corporation has only 11 Ships which occupies only 7 percent of this transportation, the rest has been transported by foreign companies, which earn 4.5 billion USD per annum on sea freight charges, which is a huge obstacle to balance and payment issue. This sector has the flair to turnaround the fragile economy of the state by investing in Ships, Seafarers and encouraging the private sector’s investment. Although, the prevailing “Pakistan Merchant Marine Policy-2001” provided many incentives to ship owners by exempting all kinds of import duties until 2020 but that had no result. A friendly atmosphere of business for private companies can attract them in investing in shipping industry. On the flip side, the ship_breaking industry in Pakistan has the potential to generate 10 billion USD annually. The Gaddani Ship_breaking yard which is the third largest in the world was first largest until 1970. Because of the negligence of the governments, lack of technology and facilities to the workers working there,this industry is breathing its last. We have been facing a pathetic energy crisis which has been a stumbling block for economic growth. Non_renewable energy has not only been disastrous for the economy but also for the consumer due to its high cost. Renewable energy can be an alternative to non_renewable energy which has a positive impact. The coastline asset can provide tidal, solar, and Wind energy. The coastline areas of Sonmiani, Kamalath, Mianihor, Korangi creek, and Indus delta have enough wind speed for wind energy. Moreover, the Gharo_ Jhimpircorridor has the potential to produce 43000 MW of electricity. According to the alternative energy development board, Pakistan has the potential to produce 346000 MW electricity through Wind. Apart from this, in the Coastline areas of Karachi and Balochistan, the ample Solar heat is enough for converting solar energy into electrical energy which can cope up with our electricity dearth. The World Bank states that by solaring only 7 percent of the current area, (particularly, the coastline region) the needs of Pakistan’s energy can be met. God has sacralised Pakistan with Immense Share in Ocean, rivers, beaches, and more than a Thousand KM Coastline zones with an abundance of natural resources. The oceanic economy can help in generating employment, reduce poverty, and has the potential to bring the fragile economy on track. The availability of blue carbon can help in fight climate change, while the Water and coastline can help in the scrimmage with energy crisis, amplify Marine Tourism, ship_ braking industry, and Ship Cargo. Furthermore, the Oceanic industry like Oil, gas, salt management, chemical, electric power, marine engineering, Seawater utilization, marine biomedicine, scientific research can further enter Pakistan in the index of prosperous nations. But, for that, the issues like governance, technology, security, funding, formers training, infrastructure, and transportation need to be figured out on a priority basis. And, a revised Maritime policy and Pakistan Merchant shipping ordinance 2001 be revived for the facilitation and attraction of private investment. Last but not least there is a dire need to focus on Balochistan which is home to 2/3 of Coastline, whereas the CPEC could be a game_changer for the ballooning of the blue economy of Pakistan.