Minister slams Centre for eroding Sindh’s authority on deep sea fishing –

HYDERABAD: Sindh Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdul Bari Pitafi on Saturday expressed his reservations over federal government’s act of continuing to issue licences for deep sea fishing and also tenders pertaining to Sindh’s fisheries’ monitoring system.

Speaking to reporters at the directorate of his department, while briefing them about the ‘grand livestock exhibition’ to be held next month off Hyderabad bypass, he argued that before introduction of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, fishing was restricted to a 12-nautical mile area and beyond this limit up to 20 nautical miles was a buffer zone.

According to him, under the 18th Amendment the subject of fisheries stands devolved to provinces and as such Sindh has also been able to issue deep sea fishing licences as well.

However, he said the federal government was still issuing tenders for Sindh’s fisheries’ monitoring system. “Eleven boats with 300 fishermen on board have been caught and sent to Balochistan prison for indulging in deep sea fishing in this area. This is great injustice with the fishing community of Sindh,” he said. For the release of the boats and fishermen, the Balochistan government had been approached and a committee with representation of Sindh government formed to pursue the case, he added.

Describing the federal government’s policy on fishing as “step-motherly treatment being meted out to Sindh”, the minister said his department would introduce its own policing and the provincial assembly would enact the required laws in this regard.

Speaking about his department’s measures for the promotion of fisheries and livestock sector as well as welfare of the local communities, Mr Pitafi said that four million livestock had been vaccinated against various diseases while fodder was being distributed among livestock owners in Tharparkar.

He pledged that 600,000 seedlings would be thrown into Keenjhar Lake and 800,000 into Manchhar Lake. Iceboxes and other goods would be distributed among fishermen. He regretted that saline water of the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) was being released into the Manchhar Lake and drain water into the Keenjhar Lake. He called for a halt to this practice and also stressed on timely completion of the drain.

The minister noted that in Tharparkar, 60pc cattle heads migrated to the barrage areas while locals did not move their goats and sheep from Thar. He said that Sindh government had already released Rs50m for fodder distribution in Tharparkar and the chief minister approved another Rs250m for the purpose.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2019


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