Uncontrolled increases in the size of fishing fleets have resulted in overfishing - and consequently the depletion of marine resources, well beyond levels of sustainability - in both shallow and deeper waters. Further, stress is placed on fish stocks as post-harvest losses are extremely high due to poor handling on-board and on land, and inadequate storage for on-board fishing vessels. A higher number of post-harvest losses means fishermen attempt to catch a larger number of fish to cover for expected losses. The issues faced by the marine fisheries sector can be summarized as:
- A decline in the population of commercially important fish species
- An ever-expanding fleet size
- Legislative changes extending fishing periods
- Usage of deleterious gears on fishing vessels
- Significant post-harvest losses
- Increase in the amount of pollution, and the discharge of sewage and municipal waste in the estuarine and creek areas of Pakistan
- Lack of access to the market for sustainable and competitive fishery products, especially due to a lack of compliance with international standards and instruments.
- Non-compliance to internationally binding and non-binding agreements.
While fisheries are the primary source for livelihoods in the area, they are marred with high bycatch, post-harvest losses and overfishing coupled with an increase in the fishing effort and usage of prohibited fishing gear in the creek areas.
Ecological surveys focused on the flora and fauna of the target areas to understand the biological potential of the area. A review of the literature on the ecological status of the project areas was also carried out.