LAHORE: The Punjab government has for the first time imposed a 10-year ban on commercial fishing in the provincial water due to critical depletion of fisheries in the rivers.

An order issued by Fisheries Department Secretary Shahid Zaman reveals that the ban shall come into force from Sept 1, 2022, and shall remain in force till July 31, 2032.

There shall be a complete ban on fishing by means of all gears except by rod and line in the waters, including River Indus within the boundaries of Punjab, its reservoirs and pond areas linked to barrages/headworks, says the order.

River Jhelum from Rasool headworks up to Mangla reservoir outflow, River Chenab upstream Marala headworks, River Swan from River Indus junction at Peer Pahai, Mianwali district, to foothills of Murree are also included in the prohibited areas for fishing, it says.

For fishing through rod and line, weekly and monthly angling permits will be issued with a fee of Rs500 and Rs5,000 each permit, respectively, for every district and the angling time will be from sunrise to sunset, the order says. Only five fish or total eight kilo weight, whichever is higher, per permit per day shall be allowed to be taken away, it says.

Mr Zaman says the step is inevitable in view of a serious drop in number of fish witnessed during test fishing by the department and a means to ensure conservation of the fish varieties available in the Punjab waters.

He says a uniform has also been introduced for the field staff of the department as part of improving the law-enforcement capability of the staff and their easy identification by the general public during the monitoring process.

Published in Dawn,May 3rd, 2022

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