Marine Resources of Balochistan

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Naseebullah Khan
Balochistan is home to 772 km of coastline extending from Hub river to the east of Gwatar bay (an important area of marine Fish, marine Wheal, Turtle, Dolphine, Area Tortoise) which borders Iran in the west. The coast of the province has many bays such as Gwatar bay, Gwadar east and west bays, Pasni bay, Sonmiani bay, and Miani Hor as a backwater lagoon. And Astola Island is located at a distance of 20 nautical miles from Pasni. It has been reported that Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, Saw scaled viper, small terrestrial mammals like Rodents, migratory birds, and 75 Finfish species from 36 different families have been inhibiting in Astola. On the other side, the Island is in danger due to pollution, illegal fishing, dumping of crude used oil, washing of sea tankers, mining of corals, and dumping of waste materials such as ghost nets. Moreover, the Kurkhera wildlife sanctuary in Miani Hor and Buzi Makola wildlife sanctuary in Kamalat Hor is located in the province too whilst, on the other end, it is said that Green Turtles are also found in Jiwani and Ormara coasts whereas, the Loggerhead Turtle which has a 115 kg of weight was seen in Balochistan’s coast in 2009.An important marine sector is Fisheries which provides about 34 percent of caught Fish to the country. This sector provides jobs to 0.4 million people of the province including 70 percent of local employment of the coastline region is dependent on this sector.The total exclusive economic zone of Pakistan is 290000 sq. Km. Whereas, Somiani, Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar, Jiwni, are the most important coastlines cities. The province is home to 5 Jetties which are located at Gaddani, Juwni, Damb, Sur, and Pishukun. The Fisheries sector has been facing a myriad of challenges such as lack of infrastructure, paucity of electricity, dearth of freezing spots, overfishing that exceeds the limits, old catching techniques, and use of destructive nets, etc. Balochistan marine sector with special attention to Fisheries has a huge potential to turn the table of the economy. It has 8 major catching islands and 25 sites. Gwadar which is a strategic hub can further accelerate the exports of Fish. What is needed is a holistic strategy on the part of both provincial and federal governments to facilitate the people attached to the sector. According to an estimate, 60 species of fish and 10 of shrimps, including the best in the world, are found in the province. It produces 200,000 tons of fish per year, of which 80,000 tons are fished by trawlers from Sindh.Balochistan has a huge potential for marine resources with special reference to Fisheries. With proper strategies and provision of facilities, the provincial fisheries sector has the potential of catching 300000 metric tons of fish per annum. For that, it is a must that different departments including agencies including the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) to prepare holistic strategies so that promote shrimp farming in the province. Last but not least, the implementation of the government of Balochistan shrimp forming policy could further help in accelerating the contribution of the Fisheries sector in the provincial and federal economies. —