22 November 2011:
Thatta, Nov 22: WWF-Pakistan’s Indus for All Programme organized seminar to observe international fisheries day at Thatta. The seminar was attended by government officials, NGOs and CBOs representatives, civil society members and school children.
Speaking on the occasion, Ghulam Mujtaba Wadhar, Director Fisheries Sindh, said that fishermen community is the oldest community of the world. They provide fish to humankind which is an essential food requirement of the people. He said thatgovernment is making all efforts to provide basic needs to fishermen community living in various parts of the Sindh. In this regard, he said that department has provided 100 houses to fishermen at Manchar Lake, while in Keenjhar Lake work on100 new houses, hospital and community hall has been started. He emphasized that fishermen should use legal nets and illegal methods of fishing may be discouraged. Fisheries Department has taken effective measures to curb illegal nets, he added. He called for public-private partnership to address multiple and complex problems of fishermen community problems.
Nasir Ali Panhwar, Programme Coordinator WWF-Pakistan said that all great civilizations of world have evolved on the banks of the rivers, where fishermen have been associated with fishing. He said that culture and heritage of Sindh is closely related to fishermen community. He said that Sindh’s contribution in fishing sector is immense, which is vital to the economy of country. He said that fishing settlements have been expanded but physical and social infrastructure is not meeting the requirements. Under-privileged poor fishermen communities are deprived of their fundamental rights, therefore all stakeholders should strive to give them due status, he added. He demanded for cold storage facilities which should be provided in coastal areas and other wetlands of Sindh. He added that legal fishing methods must be promoted.
Gulab Shah, representative of Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum, said that contract system has been abolished after their long struggle and illegal nets are being discouraged by his organization. Awareness should be created to educate the children of fishermen and civil society must come forward to help these communities. Irshad Gandro, president Keenjhar Conservation Network, said that WWF has provided livelihood support through innovative projects in Keenjhar Lake. He said that nine CBOs have been formed and hoped that Fisheries department would pay attention to problems of fishermen.
Khameso Khan, a fisherman from Keti Bundersaid the fishermen should be supported and provided basic facilities of life. They are ina very critical condition hence their issues should not be ignored.
Site Manager WWF Ghulam Rasool Khatri said that awareness about various fishing resources should be promoted and emphasized the need of sustainable management of fisheries resources in Sindh. In this regard, he called for integrated approach and collective efforts by all stakeholders.
Bilqees Khatti, Asif Ali Sandeelo, Abdul Gafoor Gandhro, Kamal Palari, Muhmmad Sidique also spoke on the occasion.
For further Information:
Nasir Ali Panhwar
Programme Management Unit - Karachi
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