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KARACHI: Speakers on Friday warned of perilous sufferings that the coastal fishermen communities are faced with from mainly a serious poverty, dearth of basic amenities and livelihood.

They called for a capacity building and provision of alternative livelihood options to improve their lives and promote better management of coastal resources in Pakistan.

Speakers at the concluding session of a workshop of the project “sustainable fishing entrepreneurship – a citizen based approach to saving Pakistan’s unique marine environment – Phase II”, at a local hotel, raised concerns over the stagnant living of the poverty stricken community.

The project was implemented by WWF-Pakistan with support of Engro Foundation at Ibrahim Hyderi and Rehri Goth, Karachi.

The main purpose of the project was to provide assets related to fishing and build capacity of the fishermen to decrease post-harvest losses, reduce by-catch and over fishing in marine waters of Pakistan.

Dr Tahir Rasheed, Regional Head, WWF-Pakistan said that the people dwelling in coastal areas of Pakistan are devoid of basic amenities of life and many of the families are living under abject poverty.

Livelihood and income generation resources of the people have been destroyed because of multiple factors, he said and added that fishing tools were provided to the deserving fishermen for the improvement of their livelihood and decreased post-harvest losses.

The project enabled fishermen to contribute in the safe release of important marine fauna. “For plantation and rehabilitation of forests, 20,000 hectares of mangrove plantations are underway with the support of Engro Foundation,” he added.

Rizwana Halepoto, Head Human Resources at Engro Vopak Terminal congratulated the team for successful execution of the project and remarked that it contributed towards protection of marine life and helped bring positive change in living standards of fishermen.

She also stated that Engro has been working closely with different stakeholders to support nature conservation in Pakistan and improve lives of deserving and marginalised communities.

“To continue these efforts for betterment of the people and marine resources, Engro has pledged to support the third phase of this project,” she added.

Fawad Soomro, Country Head, Engro Foundation said that uncontrolled increase in the size of fishing fleets has resulted in over fishing in marine waters of Pakistan.

It is also ironic that post-harvest losses are extremely high because of poor handling and storage on-board fishing vessels as well at landing centres and during transportation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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