“In Pakistan, fisheries is a big and emerging sector, especially inland fisheries,” Dr.Saeed Murtaza Hasan Andravi, director of Animal Sciences Institute, NARC told Gwadar Pro.
“As for marine fishery, nature has provided us with a long coast line where we catch different natural varieties of fish and seafood which we are also exporting. Then we have inland fisheries, freshwater fisheries, in Pakistan. This is an emerging sector and has proven itself that in an agricultural country where crops and livestock are important, fishery is also valuable at the same time,” he said.
He further explained that it provides a good diet to humans, which is high in protein, and can be exported to earn foreign exchange, adding that “if we look at all these factors such as human health, poverty alleviation, nutritious diet, export, fisheries has proven itself.”
Meanwhile, China is advanced in aquaculture fishery. According to the National Scientific Big Data Sharing Platform for Fishery, from 2015 to 2019, the gross output value of China’s mariculture industry and freshwater aquaculture industry maintained an average annual growth rate of about 5% and 2%, respectively.
In this new avenue in the business sector, Dr. Saeed Murtaza Hasan Andravi believed that the aquaculture fisheries can be a good opportunity for Chinese investors, and the Pakistani side can learn from Chinese experience and expertise.
“For the inland fish farming, farmers need a good, cheap and easily available aqua feed. This is a very good field for Chinese investment. As for breeding, Chinese investors can bring the new Chinese fish breeds to Pakistan and set up their farms, hatcheries and sell these and their eggs to the farmers. This also requires investment, preferably from Chinese,” he said.
Now a huge quantity of Pakistan’s seafood is exported to China, “we need to open avenues of export to China from aquaculture and inland fisheries along with seafood.”
Pakistani scientists have been working with Chinese experts in close liaison for the past few years and working to introduce Chinese breeding techniques and Chinese breeds such as trout to Pakistan.
Dr. Rehana Kausar, program leader and senior scientific officer at Animal Sciences Institute, NARC, told Gwadar Pro that Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has established two laboratories at its research station namely Mountain Agriculture Research Centre (MARC) Juglote, Gilgit-Baltistan, with the technical cooperation of Gansu Fisheries Research Institute (GFRI), China.
The laboratory would help produce seeds of new cold-water fish species and to multiply them in Gilgit Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and AJK. The initiative was taken under the Belt and Road Initiative of the Chinese government.
“We also have started a feed formulating unit at a basic level and it has started working. As soon as the Covid situation becomes better, we will transport the germplasm of Golden Trout from GFRI. Its propagation will begin in our Mountain Agriculture Research Center Janglot, and this seed will be disseminated in the entire region so our farmers can get a seed of good genetic quality,” Dr Rehana Kausar said.
It’s pertinent to mention that PARC in collaboration with GFRI had organized a three-day training course on “Cold Water Fisheries (Trout Farming)” to promote aquaculture farming across the potential areas of the country in 2019.
At that time a delegation of GFRI and Lanzhou University had also visited the Trout Research Station of MARC Gilgit and investigated water resources in various districts of GB, and declared the water bodies highly suitable for cold water fisheries having huge potential for cold-water fish production.
Besides, Dr. Saeed Murtaza Hasan Andravi added that “the advanced machinery used in fish breeding, processing chains, value chain or cold chain can be introduced. We can use this technology from China.”