THIS refers to the news item regarding the rise in seafood exports by 11 per cent. As mentioned in the news itself, it is true that seafood exports from Pakistan have increased due to weakening of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and other currencies.
But it is also a fact that the rise of 11 per cent in export value does not commensurate with the fall in the value of Pakistani rupee which goes to show that seafood output in the country is low and, in fact, dwindling to a disastrous level.
As far as restoration of exports to the EU is concerned there is no doubt about it that it will boost exports but mainly of shrimp provided Pakistani packers adhered to quality standard.
However, under the present political scenario and dearth of shrimp the dream of boosting exports – at least in terms of volume – is only wishful thinking.
The fishery authorities have to do more to save Pakistani marine resources from complete depletion before it is too late and we have no further suitable shrimp or fish available to export even to alternate exports markets such as Egypt, Indonesia, China, etc., which are low-end markets for low-end seafood items except the Middle East which mainly imports selected kinds of fish and graded large shrimp at relatively good price and that too mainly by air.
It goes without saying that airlifting of highly-prized fish to the Middle East has made local prices of fish unreachable and unaffordable and domestically fish and shrimp have only become a food for the rich while the average consumer is being deprived of this basic protein source which has become no less than an unattainable luxury for him.
MAZHAR BUTT Karachi