FJuly 05, 2013 ANWAR KHAN
Absence of a large number of crew is delaying fishing season to virtually begin, as a large fleet of vessels is yet to navigate through rough sea to undertake hunting, fishermen say. The government unbarred the fishermen last Tuesday to resume hunting of fish and shrimps from July as it cut the June-July fishing ban to one month.
The Sindh Fisheries Department issued a notification to officially remove the restriction from July, which will now take place in next June 2014, indicating the fishing continues for 11 months in a year. Marine experts, however, always viewed the ban significant as always which aims at providing an ample span for the sea to have a breeding process of its different vertebrate and invertebrate species in a year.
Officials of Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA) said the authority has begun issuing crew cards to the voyaging boats but so far none have acquired the cards. “It is still expected the fishing season may start during July as crew which is the key element to fishing is largely absent as many had left for their home towns upcountry last month,” source said.
A ceremony marked the beginning of the new fishing season a day before which Fishermen Co-operative Society (FCS) had organised at Fish Harbour. Despite the anticipation that an overwhelming number of fishermen will turn to the KFHA to get their crew cards on Thursday, the lack of crew presence at harbour largely marred the deep-sea hunting plans, source say.
The crew may come to harbour in weeks as Ramazan – holy fasting month for Muslims, is about to start next week, they said, adding that many of the home-gone crew were expected to return to job after Eid – in mid-August. Normally, the annual ban on fishing stays for two months including June and July, the officials say while FCS claims the chief minister Sindh lifted the ban on request of its chairman Abdul Saeed Khan Baloch and directors.
Fishermen, however, continued to voice their demands for legally lifting the two months ban as lack of business for 60 incessant days badly hit them with huge financial loss every year. It was the first time in country’s fishing history the ban lifted in July instead of August. The fisheries experts, however, showed their concerns over the ban lift prematurely, warning that the move will trigger damage to the marine life as a result of over-fishing.
Fishermen are now allowed to resume hunting of fresh water fish species such as Rahu, Thela and Kalbasu in the province. The shrimp species that were previously banned are open for catch include Kalri, Jaira, Kiddi etc. Sources said the fishermen have to sail through hostile sea with huge waves and gusty winds as previously a number of fishing vessels sank or torn apart in such unfriendly weather conditions.