LAHORE: The government of Punjab is setting up a number of fisheries and fish farms that will turn the southern region of Punjab into "a hub of fisheries".

Work is underway on construction of the "biggest fish seed hatchery in Asia" in Rajanpur, in southwestern Punjab, according to a tweet from the official account of the Punjab government.

To meet the requirement of fish seeds of fish farmers in Bahawalpur, the fisheries department has provided five million fish seeds for the private and public sectors.

The provincial government has also set up fish farms on an area of 500 acres in Derawar, Bahawalpur in an attempt to develop fisheries there.

Additionally, a hatchery is being established in Muzaffargarh for breeding fish in salt water.

The recorded consumption of fish and fish products is the lowest in Pakistan and the highest in Sri Lanka in the South Asian region, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in Dec last year.

The national consumption figure, based on the household consumption survey of 2011, was 0.6kg.

The FAO survey report attributed the low figure to the tendency to export much of the fish production and the low purchasing power of a majority of the country’s citizens.

Pakistan’s seafood exports in 2014-15 stood at 140,639 tonnes ($349.5m) compared to 150,498 tonnes ($369m) in 2013-14. The average unit price in FY15 was $2.49 per kg versus $2.45 in the preceding year.

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