KARACHI, May 21: Though several stakeholders welcome the two-month seasonal ban on fishing, the fishermen themselves are not happy about it and want the ministry of fisheries to withhold the ban this year.
A notification issued by the Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority on Tuesday said: “In pursuance of the provision of Section 25 of the Sindh Fisheries Ordinance 1980, the Government of Sindh has imposed the seasonal ban at Serial No.5 in the First Schedule of the said Ordinance on catching shrimp with effect from June 1 to July 31, 2013.
“The KFHA wants to implement the ban season in letter and spirit and will not allow landing of fish/shrimp viz. shrimp i.e. Kalari, Jaira and Kiddi and fresh water Rahu, Mori, Thaila from June 1 till July 31 at the Karachi Fish Harbour and if brought the same will be confiscated under the rules proceeding to take against the violation.”
Pakistan Fishermen Forum chairman Mohammad Ali Shah said it was a good decision, though a ban was always announced but not really implemented.
“It is good as this is the breeding season for shrimps and fish. The fishing ordinance is for two months but the politicians when trying to please the fishermen usually cut the ban short to one-and-a-half months or even one month,” he told Dawn on Tuesday.
“The break may result in the fall in earnings of the fishermen but after that the yield is so good that it covers all their losses of the previous two months,” he said.
Speaking for the fishermen, Haji Ismail Qasim Bhatti, a senior fisherman from Bhit Island, said that they had to go through too much hardship during the ban period and were hoping for a skip in the ban this year.
“The fishermen and other stakeholders met at a meeting on Monday where we presented our case and explained our problem in detail. Ramazan, too, is approaching and imagine the plight of the poor fisherman, who needs to catch fish every day to keep his kitchen running. He cannot afford to be without work even for a single day and the ban keeps him away from his means of earning for two whole months in these times of inflation. It is just not fair,” he said.
“Therefore we are hopeful that the ministry of fisheries will make an exception this year and let us fish throughout the two months,” he said.
“The KFHA ban doesn’t mean much without a nod from the ministry of fisheries. We are expecting a notification in our favour from the Sindh secretariat in the next two days,” he said.
Sagheer Ahmed, a spokesman for the KFHA, said that it was possible that the ban be reduced as it had been announced at a time when the new government had not even been formed. “They may change it to one month as the other governments have been known to do,” he said, adding that the fishermen usually observed the ban in July but the exporters want it imposed for June and July as it improved the catch afterwards, which proved good for business.
“The ban is mainly for catching shrimps but it includes fishing too as shrimps get caught in fishing nets. So the fishermen are discouraged from going out to sea at all, which also keeps them safe as the sea is very rough during these monsoon months. Plus they can utilise this time repairing their nets, boats, etc,” he said.