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Infrastructure and fisheries development.

Fisheries is an important sector of the agriculture which provides employment to about 286,000 fishermen. It is a source of protein rich food which although is widely liked but because of the high prices and improper supply, remains out of the reach of common man especially those living in upcountry areas. Fisheries also helps in generating ever needed foreign exchange for the country. In 1992, fish and fisheries products valued at Rs. 3.45 billion were exported. Despite its significant contribution in the national economy, it has never received the attention it deserves. One of the important constraint in the development of this sector is the inadequate infrastructure facilities. In the absence of required infrastructure it is difficult to imagine development of any particular industry.

Landing Jetties

For the development of fisheries it is necessary that facilities such as landing jetties, water supply, electricity, road linkage and communication means are available. At the time of creation of Pakistan, there was no landing centre for fishermen except in Karachi where fishermen used to land their catch near Napier Mole Bridge; from where the catch was taken to Khadda market for auction and disposition. In 1959 first fish harbour was constructed in Karachi at a total cost of Rs. 15.0 million. This harbour is located at the northern part of the Manora Channel and linked to the city through West Wharf Road. This harbour was designed to accommodate about 400 vessels. Its channel was dredged to depth of about 3 m so that artisanal fishing boats may enter in this facility. There was a 424 meter landing jetty, a turning basin and a fish auction hail having a covering area of about 1000 sq. m. Other than this fish harbour there was no fish landing jetty in the country.

Because of the increasing fishing fleet, Karachi Fisheries Harbour got too congested to operate and the facilities became inadequate for the fishing boats. Considering this a programme for rehabilitation of the Karachi Fisheries Harbour was undertaken by Government of Sindh with an out right grant of 12 million ECU from European Economic Corem unity. This rehabilitation work was completed in 1992 whereunder the quay was extended, floating pontoon for berthing of fishing vessels and a new auction hall having an area of about 2500 sq. m. were constructed. The navigational channel was widened from 90 to 120 meters. In addition supporting facilities such as water supply, electricity, sanitation, roads etc. have also been improved. Although rehabilitation and extension of the harbour has helped in solving the problem of congestion but still the sanitary conditions are not improved. The harbour still presents an ugly look and rotten fish and stagnant water can be seen in the auction hail and adjacent area. Pollution level in the harbour has increased. In the turning basins heaps of debris can be seen floating permanently and there is no arrangement for its cleaning. Similarly unauthorized vendors can be seen encroaching in the harbour area. The management of the harbour is a mess and Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority and Fishermen Cooperative Society both are claiming the ownership of the harbour but not paying the attention to the proper functioning of this main fisheries centre of the country.

After a lag of about 41 years since the creation of Pakistan, Balochistan was lucky to have a small fisheries harbour at Pasni in 1988. Despite the fact that fisheries is the main economic activity along the Balochistan coast, infrastructural facilities remain limited. There was no landing jetty, no road, no electricity and no water in most parts of Balochistan. In 1988 Pasni Fisheries harbour was constructed with the financial assistance of Asian Development Bank at a total cost of about Rs. 325 million. This harbour has opened a new door for the development of fisheries of Balochistan. This harbour is made on a reclaimed land and has two rubble mound breakwaters and causeways armoured with concrete blocks having a total length of about 900 meters. It has 260 meters quay, 150 meters general cargo quay and a protected landing beach within harbour (for landing of country crafts). Supporting facilities like water, electricity and fuel storage etc. are available in the harbour. The harbour has a large auction hall. The operation of this harbour has helped the fishermen of the area, however, the catch is auctioned directly on the quay wall whereas the auction hall remain closed till todate.

A mini port cum fish harbour has recently been established in Gwader with the assistance of Belgium. This harbour consists of a long jetty extending in the sea. On this jetty auction hall and other storage facilities were constructed. Despite its location near the traditional fish landing site, the harbour is reported to be not utilized by the fishermen. According to the fishermen the design of the harbour does not suit them. It is learnt that a plan is made to construct floating pontoons on the sides of the jetty so that fishermen can use the facilities.

With the assistance from Asian Development Bank, another harbour is constructed at Korangi. This harbour is now almost ready for operation. The harbour consists of 1000 meters of quay structure, a 3.5 km. access channel linking harbour with Phitti Creek, an auction hall having an area of 2400 sq. m. and other facilities. This harbour is basically designed for catering the need of the deep sea fishing vessels, however, its remote location and shallow draft renders it unsuitable for large fishing and carrier vessels. Local fishermen of the area, however, will be benefited from this harbour.

With limited resources, some unplanned construction of landing jetties has been done at Ibrahim Hayderi, Lath Basti and Jiwani, however, these are not serving the desired purpose. Along the coast of Pakistan there are another 10 major fish landing centres and about 30 minor fish landing sites. In order to develop fisheries of these area, it is necessary that landing jetties may be constructed at these sites specifically there is a need for landing jetties at Keti Bunder, Shah Bunder, Buleji, Gaddani, Damb, Ormara, Sur, Phushukan, Ganz and Jiwani. This will provide better facilities for fishermen and help in increasing their catch and improvement of the fish handling etc.

Road and Other Communication Means

With the exception of Karachi, no other fishing town or village has proper roads. The importance of coastal road linking fishing towns of Sindh and Balochistan cannot be over-emphasized. At present a jeepable track exists between Jiwani, Gwader, Pasni and Ormara. Although Gaddani and Damb are linked with Karachi but the condition of the roads are not very good. Similarly, Ibrahim Hayderi which is the second largest fishing centre has heavily damaged road linking it to Korangi. Similarly Ormara-Liari Road linking coastal area of Balochistan is opened for light traffic but it is needed that this road may be metalled so that fish and other produce of Mekran could be brought to Karachi and general commodities could be taken to these isolated areas of Pakistan. An all weather metalled road linking coastal towns of Sindh especially with Keti Bunder and Shah Bunder is needed immediately.

Coastal fishing towns are not properly linked with telephone and telegraph with Karachi and other centres. A satellite receiving station has already been established in Gwader but other coastal towns are not properly linked with Karachi making it difficult to communicate with the traders and businessmen of the coastal area. In this era of information, adequate communication is considered necessary and this hold true for fisheries sector also, therefore, it is imperative to have better communication systems for the coastal communities.

Water Supply

Potable water for the use in fish processing industry is not adequately available in most part of the coastal area. In Karachi, there is a chronic problem of water supply in the Karachi Fish Harbour area. The supply is so limited that every plant has to procure water regularly. The quality of this water is not certain which make it difficult to produce quality products. In other coastal towns water availability is not dependable. Water to Gaddani and Damb is pumped from Hub reservoir. Ormara receives water from Basul River, Pasni from Shadi Khor, Sur and Gwader from Akara Khor dam whereas water is supplied to Keti Bunder and Jiwani from wells. In almost all of the areas there is a need to improve water supply so that fish processing industry could flourish.


Despite regular breakdowns electricity is available in Karachi, Ibrahim Hayderi, Buleji, Gaddani and Damb through Karachi Electric Supply Corporation. In Pasni electricity is supplied through recently established diesel fired power plant of 17 MW with the assistance of ODA. The supply of electricity is limited to few hours in Ormara, Gwader and Jiwani and there is need to link these coastal towns with power plant located in Pasni. The supply of electricity is necessary in all other coastal villages.

Despite inadequate infrastructure facilities, the fisheries industry of the country has survived in the past but with increasing demand of fish in the country as well as in the international market, there is need to strengthen the infrastructure in the coastal towns so that fisheries of this country can enter into new era of development.
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Publication:Economic Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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