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CPEC can help increase seafoods’ export beyond $1b

CPEC can help increase seafoods’ export beyond $1b

ISLAMABAD: With the establishment of state of the art China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, Pakistan’s fisheries sector export could cross $1 billion annually against current annual export of around $400 million.

Pakistan’s exports of fishery products stand at about 0.25 per cent of world exports. Other than a huge domestic market Pakisnt has export market for fish and fish products and around 30 per cent of the total fish catch is exported to 30 countries of the world, said a latest report titled “The state of economy: China Pakistan Economic Corridor Review and Analysis”, issued by The Shahid Javed Burki Institute of Public Policy at NtSol.

According to the report, the fisheries sector in Balochistan is the major source of employment for people residing along the coastal belt, this includes fishermen and other associated businesses such as boat building and net manufacturing.

Other forms of employment include hawkers, vendors, store keepers, tourist guides, driver, etc. A problem associated with the expansion of the port due to CPEC is that some fishing zones would be dislocated- a serious concern of local people that their livelihood would be finished and forgotten.

However the report warned that over exploitation of the marine fisheries, especially shrimps, should be avoided to conserve the natural habitat. This is necessary for the commercial development of fishing industry as it keeps open the investment opportunities in future.

The report proposed to follow case of Thailand for developing a modern fishery processing industry. In Balochistan’s coastal areas, fresh fish is packed in ice and sent to Karachi.

The advanced processing of fish canning is done at Karachi, there is a great potential for canning industry in Makran areas provided that road links are available for marketing.

Modern fish processing facilities should be developed as part of CPEC with China’s help. Developing a modern fishing industry is test case for CPEC that is largely for the benefit of the local population and would make a real visible change in their livelihood, the report added.