Omar Hayat Khan, an expert on fisheries and environment, has said that the recent amendments in Pakistan Fish Inspection Rules, 1998 will facilitate the export of fish and fisheries related products to international market, including existing and new buyers. Talking to APP, he said that all the federating units have been taken on board for the implementation of the amendments aimed at better monitoring of the quality of fish and fisheries products for biosecurity at every stage of value chain, beginning from stage to processing of fish and its products for its quality for human consumption.

This new development of the government is in the right direction to meet the regulatory requirements of importing countries throughout the world where fish and fish products are consumed. The step will also provide support to the existing exporters and fisheries processing industry in exporting fish and fisheries products to Europe and Gulf as well as south Asian countries. Mr Khan, who had an experience of 40 years in fisheries said that Pakistan fisheries sector which is contributing to one percent of GDP will improve its share of GDP in coming years ahead if the government remain focused on supporting the Marine and Inland fisheries and Aquaculture sub sector of Agriculture.

He said that new employment opportunities will emerge at various levels of Aquaculture Value Chain from production to processing units as well as allied industries while improvement in quality will provide support in increase in demand of fish and fisheries products at both domestic and international level. He added that marine sector is picking up where success have been achieved in rearing marine shrimp in coastal belt of Pakistan. He called for provision of enabling environment to investors through provision of relevant information of location for establishment of production facilities and allied industry of feed to ensure the availability of the fish feed ingredients at local level in the country.

The step, he said will also support use of local secondary byproducts of other industry in quality fish production thus improving the demand of byproducts of other industries. He said that Fisheries Development Board, INFAL has started working of National Aquatic Organism Health Strategy and National Small-Scale Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Strategy and Action Plan 2023-2030. A consultative workshop of experts, in this regard, was held at National Research Council, Islamabad and feedback has been sought for further improvement. Soon after finalization, these documents will be placed for approval before the Federal and provincial governments.

The other highly important initiative of the Government of Pakistan is the development of a Pakistan National Residue Control Plan for Aquaculture Products, 2024, which will provide basis for residual monitoring of injurious contamination in Aquaculture products. He said that after the implementation of the mechanism of monitoring and control mechanism for fish and fisheries products will turn our fish and fisheries products of Marine and Inland fisheries and Aquaculture eligible for import by other purchasing countries and the volume of our exports will be on growth trajectory.

He said that the commitment of the new government for the implementation of the amended rules will be very crucial for the sub sector of Fisheries and Aquaculture development. Attracting foreign direct investment is the main focus for increasing export of fish and fisheries to increase foreign exchange income for the exchequer. These initiatives by the government will support conducive environment for investment of the local investors and foreign direct investment to translate them into creation of employment opportunities for the local youth work force and increase in the income of the small fish farmers to improve their livelihood.