Federal Cabinet approves ‘corporate’ fishing policy

STAFF REPORT

ISLAMABAD

The federal Cabinet on Wednesday approved the controversial Deep Sea Fishing Licensing Policy 2018, what the fishermen community calls “corporate fishing” and has been resisting it for years.

The fishermen fear that the new policy that was on the cards for months now would deprive small fishermen of their livelihoods.

The Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), a union of the fishermen had resisted such moves in the past also.

They term the policy as an attempt to re-introduce the controversial contract system that was abolished after a long struggle in 2011 through an amendment to the fisheries ordinance of 1980.

The community also allege that the new policy is not in accordance with the International Labour Organization convention on fisheries and makes no mention of important issues like climate change and disaster risk reduction.

Under the new policy, the director general of fisheries in the proposed bill under which he could grant special permits for any public water body and extend or modify the fishing permit.

Overfishing, environmental pollution, urbanisation and industrial activities have destroyed the source of income of the fishermen communities.

The fishermen community allege that corporate actors had begun to generate discourse around it and were trying to win over people, communities and institutions including government departments on their side, which would ultimately harm the fishing community.

The community is of the opinion that industrialising the fishing sector will be a setback to the small scale fisheries that is already under crisis in Pakistan.

According to some report, out of total 1,209 inland water bodies, more than 500 have been illegally occupied by local landlords who exploit poor fishing communities.

 

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