KARACHI: Some were busy breaking up slabs of ice before loading them onto the boats, some were loading gas cylinders and food rations while others checked their nets for tears and holes that needed mending. As the huge auction halls at the Karachi Fisheries Harbour on Friday morning were being hosed down, some boats started their engines followed by puffs of black smoke clouds in the air.
“The engine which starts here keeps on chugging for almost a month. We only turn it off on returning here so this is the time for tuning it,” said fisherman Mohammad Sufiyan as the deep sea fishing season resumed here on Friday with prayers and handing of permits to fishermen readying their boats for long fishing expeditions in the deep sea.
“Life has returned to this place after almost two months now,” smiled another relieved fisherman Mohammad Aziz. “You have no idea how we survived during all this time. We had to take loans to feed our children but now it’s time to go out, earn and repay our debts,” he said.
“Inshallah, we’ll return with plenty of catch and everything will be fine again,” said Mohammad Arif.
And what kind of catch were they looking forward to? Shah Alam inspecting their boat Shaan-i-Mustafa’s fishing net hoped to return in 20 to 25 days with plenty of prawns and shrimps along with white pomfret.
“But we also know that we’ll only be making between Rs500 and Rs600 per kilogram for whatever catch we bring in and it will later be sold for around Rs3,000 per kilo,” commented Mohammad Shahid helping Shah Alam with the net on the same boat.
Meanwhile, Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) director Sulaiman Sindhi said that the ban on fishing was necessary each year so that the fish and shrimp could regenerate.
On the occasion of resuming the new fishing season, the FCS had arranged for Quran Khawani and special prayers for everyone’s safety and prosperity before issuing them documents allowing them to go out to sea for fishing.
Later, FCS chairman Dr Nisar Morai issued the no-objection certificates to the fishermen in order for them to leave as soon as possible.
Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2014