KARACHI: Fishermen of Karachi have demanded access to basic rights and free access to fishing along with the imposition of a ban on deep-sea trawlers. They demanded that children of fishermen should be provided jobs in Pakistan Navy, Maritime Security Agency, KPT, Port Qasim, Sindh Fisheries Department, and Karachi Fish Harbour Authority.
Leaders of the fishermen community said this during a ‘fishermen convention’ held at Baba Island on Thursday. The convention was attended by thousands of fishermen and jointly organized by Pakistan Bonafide Fishermen Forum and Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum.
Bonafide Fishermen’s leader Zahid Bhatti, PFF Chairman Muhammad Ali Shah, Muhammad Hussain, and Haji Ali addressed the convention.
They said that fishermen were founders of Karachi but they were neglected by the policymakers. Thus, they were living a miserable life without basic facilities in their areas. They are deprived of water, education, health, electricity, gas, roads, livelihood, and other basic necessities of life.
The ill planning and controversial policies of the policymakers had affected the livelihood of fishermen while some federal and provincial security institutions were harassing them in the name of security while they go on fishing in the sea. They are being deprived of their livelihood like they were fishermen in another country.
They said that the sea was the source of their livelihood and they wanted their access to their right without and hindrances and international and Pakistani laws. They considered any hindrance in their livelihood as injustice. Presenting their charter of demand, fishermen demanded that in the name of security, fishermen should not be harassed, deep-sea trawlers are banned.
Marine pollution could become dangerous, thus, domestic and industrial waste should not be thrown into the sea. Usage of harmful nets should be banned and in order to protect mangrove forests, their cutting should be stopped. They demanded that children of fishermen should be provided jobs in Pakistan Navy, Maritime Security Agency, KPT, Port Qasim, Sindh Fisheries Department, and Karachi Fish Harbour Authority.
They said that rates of consumable goods were increasing on daily basis, but prices of fish and shrimp were fixed in 1982, which continued in the market. Prices of inputs like diesel, ration, net etc had also increased but traders and owners of the factories were offering them lower rates. Thus, the prices of fish and shrimp should be revised.
The charter of demands said that for the sake of sustainable development, fishermen should be provided loans at lower markups. They should be provided the right to work and be given social security and other incentives. They should be provided training for the processing and packing of seafood according to international standards.
They said that during the ban on fishing in June and July, each and every fisherman should be provided Rs20,000 per month allowance by the government and their lives are insured, their rights are protected and Sindh Sustainable Policy should be formulated. They announced to united all the fishermen and initiate a struggle for the achievement of their rights.