Aquaculture scientists and fisheries’ experts of the SAARC member countries Tuesday termed the destruction of fish habitat, pollution, siltation, logging and mining were posing threat to the fisheries and aqua life across the globe. They were sharing their views at a three-day consultation meeting on Small Scale fisheries in South Asia which was jointly organized by Ministry of National Food Security and Research in collaboration with SAARC Agriculture Center and Pakistan Agriculture Research Council.
They said lack of community-based traditional, cooperation, assistance, trade unions and co-management regime for the greater legitimacy and ownership were the other challenges faced by the fisheries sector and halting their growth. They said fisheries sector was working like engine of economic growth and its world wide trade was recorded at US$ 171 billion annually, whereas South Asia was exporting fish and fish products worth US$ 6.5 billion within 4 percent year on year growth.
They said if the appropriate measures were not taken to mitigate the challenges faced by the fisheries and aqua sector, it could affect the source of livelihood of about 59.6 million people across the world alone in South Asia, over 50 million people would directly be affected.
They said per capita fish consumption was recorded at 1.9 kg in Pakistan, Nepal 1.6 kg, Bangladesh 21 kg, India 9.2 kg and Sri Lanka 15.8 kg.
The event was aimed at promoting aquaculture and fish farming across the SAARC region by sharing the expertise and knowledge of each others to promote livelihood of small scale fish farmers to strengthen food safety and security in the region particularly of the small scale and landless farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, Director SAARC Agriculture Center informed that prime objective of the SAARC center was to collect and disseminate the information among the member states, capacity building, programs on skill
Director SAARC Agriculture Center said the center had prioritized 20 programme for the region covering all spheres of fisheries and aquaculture and initiated fish biodiversity management in trans boundary rivers and climate change impact.
Addressing the meeting, PARC Chairman Dr Yousuf Zafar said that 5 delegates form the members states were participating the consultation and there was a consensus among the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh to share their experiences with Pakistan to promote the aquaculture sector of the country.
Senior Scientific Officer of PARC Dr Rehana said the council was providing technical assistance to the fish farmers to promote the fish farming in the country as it was a major source of protein for human consumption.
She said soil testing, water testing, suitable species for different ecology were provided by the PARC to the farmers intended to fish farming free of cost to promote and develop the fisheries sector in the country.