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Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum concerned over loss of fish species

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by August 7, 2013 General

Karachi, August 07, 2013 (PPI-OT): Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on Wednesday expressed concern over the loss of fish species, as tons of dead fish reached ashore after rain, causing threat to marine ecology.

PFF Chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah links it to the recent rains, which streamed the poisonous chemicals in to the sea through sewerage drains. He said Sindh Local Government department and provincial authorities, including Sindh Environment Ministry are responsible of this loss, which is disastrous for the local communities as well as fragile marine ecology.

Shah demands to initiate probe in to the matter and make the report public with findings, of its short-term and long-term impacts. The community should be informed which kind of chemicals were streamed in to the sea with rain water and how much it will impact the surface sea water and bottom of the sea.

It may cause long term impacts on the bottom of the sea, which is home to hundreds of marine species, he said.

Hundreds of endangered species of dolphins, turtles, sea gulls, waterfowls and other creatures have natural habitat in the affected area. PFF warns if the government failed to pay heed to the matter it may cause further loss to humankind and marine ecology in future, which may turn disastrous.

There is no check on increasing marine pollution, he said, adding that it happened due to apathetic approach of the government authorities, TMAs, city government and other relevant institutions, as the sea has already been turned into dumping site, which receives poisonous chemicals through sewerage channels.

He said it is the common phenomenon and the fishermen fear they may lose their source of living as their bowl of livelihood is being made poisonous through dumping industrial waste in to it.

Sharing information, the PFF volunteers have collected, reveals that it is the horrible situation not only affecting the source of living but also life of the island communities. It has exposed the major government institutions, which are responsible to control marine pollution.

Shah said whenever the low tides season starts, it creates such a problem, which panic the communities. Despite government claims, industrial units seem reluctant to install treatment plants as per rule to avoid such loss to marine ecology.

Marine fisheries department (MFD) officials realize the fact that mass death of fish, largely comprising mullets that live in shallow water and are consumed locally is a bigger loss to the community.

The officials blamed the toxic waste coming from the Site industrial area through the Lyari river for the death of fish. They claim to have written letters to fishmeal processing units, directing them not to use that fish in manufacturing fishmeal in their plants. The purpose is to avoid further loss as poultry is also a main source of consumption of food for the people.

Samples of the dead fish will be tested at the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) and the marine fisheries department’s laboratory to ascertain the causes of fish death.

Tonnes of fish were found dead floating on a large Karachi Port Trust area a day earlier. Local people were seen collecting the dead fish mainly comprising mullets (called boi in local parlance). A large quantity of fish was reportedly sold to factories manufacturing fish meal (mainly used as poultry feed).

According to some estimates, the fish was about 100 tonnes of which 30 tonnes was already taken out and sold when reports of the mass death started pouring in. Many fishermen involved in collecting fish were engaged by the Karachi Port Trust for a “clean-up operation”.

PFF has suggested to control marine pollution with stopping discharge of industrial and domestic waste through Lyari, Malir rivers and other urban drains. About 435 million gallons of sewage is daily released through these two rivers, causing high level of pollution around Karachi. The city has a very limited capacity for sewage treatment, about 75MGD per day. It means 85pc of sewage is dumped directly into the sea without any treatment. This is devastating our marine flora and fauna.

Fishermen urged upon the government and other institutions, which claim to have stake on these issues, should open eyes and take action instantly. In case of showing lackluster it will affect the human life and over all marine ecology.

For more information, contact:
Jamil Junejo
Manager Programs
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
PFF Secretariat Karachi, Sindh
Sachall Hall, Ibrahim Hyderi,
Bin Qasim Town,
Karachi, Sindh
Phone: +92 21 5092862, 92 21 35090543
Fax: +92 21 35090540

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