News Update

Future of Fisheries in Pakistan

18 Apr 2014

Future of fisherires in Pakistan


Seafood exports remained about $250 to $275 million per annum. The average price was $2per kg, because 90 percent fish were exported unprocessed and in frozen form. Presently, only 2 canning plants and 1 bulk Surimi plant are in operation. While  majority of processing units on Baluchistan coastal belt are not in operation.

Shrimp aquaculture is not existed and 10 percent or less farmed fish are being exported. Even existing processing units are using 25 percent capacity. 

Road blocks:

About 80 percent products landed on the harbors go to fish meal plants. The problem is that use of illegal nets is increasing and majority of the fishing boats carry these nets. A survey was done by Norwegian research vessel, indicated that fisheries resources are declining, due to over fishing by the vessels and use of illegal nets have drastically reduced raw material catch. 

A sustainable Fishing Policy required:  

The Arabian Sea Ocean touching Pakistani shores constitutes one of the world's most unique and complex oceanographic regions and is ranked one of the most biologically productive areas. The measures required a strictly implementation of June and July fishing ban and a ban on use of illegal nets. Preservation of Mangroves is also needed to increase the exports and to focus on Aquaculture. 

Pakistan is perhaps the only coastal country in the world that has no Shrimp Farming. Fisheries exports of India crossed $3 billion, Bangladesh over $1 billion, Vietnam $5 billion, Thailand $10 billion, Iran and Saudi Arabia have made remarkable progress in shrimp farming. The achievements have only been possible due to the adoption of a very strong aquaculture policy by their governments. 

As the scope is wide in this sector, Pakistan has to develop the aquaculture sector. The local people involved in this business must be given an opportunity to come forward and set joint venture. 

There are certain problems that need to be resolved in order to develop this sector:

Enforcing writ of the government on the coastal belt, investment friendly land lease policy should be developed, government support in infrastructure improvement, development of cluster of farms with government and providing the technical support.

If raw material availability is ensured, even through aquaculture, the processing units will confidently invest in value addition equipments to reinforce their processing. The survival of the fisheries industry depends on the change of the people involved in this industry. The strong political will of the government is also necessary to provide the favorable environment for this sector to grow.


The marketing chain for fish is similar to other agricultural commodities. Products are sold into the market to wholesalers and then onto retailers and end consumers through agents working on a commission basis. Farmed fish is marketed either at the farm gate, through intermediaries or by open auction, where ice-packed fish is sent to fish markets and sold. Buyers of fishery products can be members of the public, retailers, wholesalers and agents for processing plants or exporters. 

Fish markets are very common in Sindh but are at selected locations in Punjab. All markets are under the control of the local administrations. Most of the fish markets have inadequate facilities; usually they lack cold storage facilities, have poor hygienic conditions and inadequate communication links. Most of the aquaculture products are consumed locally.

The fish have more than 3 kg weight fetches less price; the prices also depend freshness of the fish and the supply and demand situation in the market. Local consumers generally prefer freshwater fish over marine fish because of their familiarity with river and inland farmed fish. There is difference in wholesale and retail prices, where freshwater fish is sold at a higher price than marine fish.