A project titled ‘Sustainable Fisheries Entrepreneurship: A Citizen-Based Approach to Saving Pakistan’s Unique Marine Environment.’ was implemented by WWF-Pakistan in June 2016. This project was sponsored by Engro Foundation for a period of two years. The project aimed to support and promote improved fisheries management in three coastal Union Councils of Karachi, Pakistan i.e. Ibrahim Hyderi, Rehri Goth and Kaka Pir communities in Karachi.
Uncontrolled increases in the size of fishing fleets have resulted in overfishing - and consequently the depletion of marine resources, well beyond levels of sustainability - not only in shallow waters but also in the deeper parts of the continental shelf. Further stress is placed on fish stocks in the seas 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 the short-fall of the expected losses. The issues being 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 was planned to be conducted to understand the biological potential of the area. It was planned to gather and analyze data from the target area. A review of the literature on the ecological status of the project areas was done. The report was formed on the basis of developmental activities aiming to improve the socio-economic conditions of the communities in the project area.