Pakistan needs a fibre-glass boat industry enabling its fishermen to keep the seafood fresh and contamination-free for domestic use and export, said Ahmed Nadeem, Director Marine Fisheries, Lasbella, Balochistan, while talking to WealthPK. According to Ahmed, traditional wooden boats are mostly used for fishing. When the catch is kept uncovered or in their unhygienic holds in the traditional wooden boards, contamination catches it speedily, he said. “Instead of wooden boats, fiberglass boats are the best choice to cope with this situation. In fact, the imported fiberglass boats are costlier than the wooden boats. So, the establishment of boat-building yards will help cut their price.

The local fibre boat manufacturing will be a great addition to the economic flow. A few traditional boat manufacturing units are active in Gadani, Gwadar, and Lasbella districts, and at some other stations,” he said. “The government must offer subsidies or totally interest-free loans or at nominal rates for establishment of fiberglass manufacturing units and upgradation of the existing ones. This will lure investment.”

Continuing the discussion, Ahmed said fibreglass boats are economical and easy to handle, as they are lighter in weight and faster in speed. The domestic manufacturing industry will provide a direct jump-off from wooden boats to fiberglass boats, he adds. Globally, fibreglass boats are a regular part of modern fishing gear and the Pakistani fishermen should have them for sustainable fishing practices. New job opportunities will also come with development of boat manufacturing industry.

Talking about the importance of fibreglass boats and their local manufacture, Deputy Director Inland Fisheries, Quetta Sikander Akram said, “Mostly, our fishing vessels are totally made out of wood. As soon as fish is stored in them, different types of microbes like salmonella, typhi, etc begin to attack it causing 40 to 50% post-harvest losses. This loss can be minimised by shifting the fishing fleet from wooden to fiberglass. They are lightweight and fuel-efficient, and it is rather economical to keep catch in cold boxes before getting back to the shore.”

Fibreglass boats are considered best for both fishing and recreational purposes due to their durability and low cost of maintenance. Their local manufacture can not only help meet domestic needs but can also be exported to earn handsome foreign exchange.