The Sustainable Fisheries Entrepreneurship: A Citizen-Based Approach to Saving Pakistan’s Unique Marine Environment project was implemented from June 2016 in three coastal union councils of Karachi, Pakistan. It aimed to support and promote improved fisheries management through the reform of governance and management of the fisheries sector to combat illegal fishing and reduce pressure on marine ecosystems through increased awareness.
The project envisaged community mobilization and organization through the establishment of fisher groups within the target areas. Fisher folk groups were formed under male and female categories to be dedicated to specific social problems each gender may face. These fisher groups were entrusted to ensure community participation in the effective management of marine resources and fisheries and to bring improvements in their livelihoods. The groups underwent a number of training sessions to develop capacity for positive management.
It is well known that during fishing operations, fishermen target specific species for capture. Unfortunately, other animals become hooked or trapped when attracted to the bait or target catch. Such bycatch is a widespread problem in all fisheries and in all seas. Often the scale of mortality is so high that it threatens the very survival of species and their environments. Every year, at least 7.3 million tonnes of marine life is caught incidentally, as bycatch.
Bycatch is also a serious issue in the fisheries based in three union councils i.e. Ibrahim Hyderi, Rehri and Maripur. Considering the seriousness of the issues, it was envisaged to train observers that are deputed on fishing vessels for the safe release of protected, threatened and endangered species that get entangled in the fishing gears.