Byline: Syed Fazl-E-Haider
The blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic development and growth, improved livelihoods, and creation of jobs without harming or affecting the health of ecosystems of the ocean. In short, the economic activities related to ocean, sea and coast in a way that preserve the ocean ecosystems.
Balochistan has 770km long coastal belt along the Arabian Sea, which links Lasbela and Gwadar districts. The coastline is 70 percent of the country's total coastline of about 1,045km. It has huge potential for development of fisheries, tourism and seaports and renewable energy projects. The province enjoys diversity of marine life in nature. Its coastline is the most productive marine ecosystem of the world. According to an estimate, 60 species of fish and 10 of shrimps, including the best in the world, are found in the province.
The fishing is the only activity available to the people of coastal areas in Balochistan. With high illiteracy rate, the local fishermen find it harder to get alternative occupation other than the fishing. Lack of industry and agriculture is another reason behind association of majority people of coastal areas with fishing.
Fisheries provide direct employment to an estimated 400,000 people in Balochistan. For creation of more jobs, there is a dire need to develop ancillary industries in fisheries sector in Balochistan. These industries may include boat repair and engine workshops, transport and boatbuilding.
There is a high need for promotion and development of large-scale commercial coastal aquaculture in Balochistan. The availability of the long coastline with plenty of land enhances the scope for coastal aquaculture in the province. The Fisheries Development Board (FDB) needs to identify pond sites and establish shrimp hatcheries in different coastal areas. There is a huge potential for farming many other types of aquaculture and species in Balochistan. The development of coastal aquaculture is subject to resolution of land tenure issues, security problem, lack of skilled manpower and feed availability issues. The Balochistan government needs to address and resolve these issues on priority basis and work out a master plan for coastal aquaculture development.
Balochistan lacks the infrastructure facilities for fishing. The catch is spoiled as it is exposed to sun and impurities. In the absence of quality control regime, fresh and good quality fish find no access to national...