November 21: World Fisheries Day 2010: Fisherfolk seek end to contract system

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Fishermen of marine and inland waters are holding various activities to commemorate the World Fisheries Day 2010 on November 21 in different district headquarters and water bodies of Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

In this regard, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) is organising events that aim at bringing the fishing communities together for expressing their solidarity with fishermen worldwide. Major events will be held in Karachi, Thatta, Hyderabad, Kandhkot and Manchhar Lake where fishermen will exhibit fishing tools, decorative small boats, nets and perform songs and dances at rallies. In Karachi, fishermen from all coastal villages will participate and represent their cultures. A group of 50 creative people has been designed to perform different colourful items to portray the issues facing the fishing communities. This year, the theme has been linked to ‘Pakistan Debt Cancellation Campaign’. The fishermen are demanding international financial institutions to lay off debt and instead use the money for the rehabilitation of communities displaced by the recent floods. The second major point PFF rallies will address is to abolish a contract system in fishing businesses and protect the rights of fishermen living in inland water bodies of the province. A rally on the World Fisheries Day will be taken out from Regal Chowk and end at Karachi Press Club.
A recent United Nations study reported that more than two-thirds of the world’s fisheries have been overfished or are fully harvested and more than one third are in a state of decline because of various factors including loss of essential fish habitats, pollution, and global warming.
The World Fisheries Day helps in highlighting the critical importance to human lives of water and the lives it sustains, both in and out of water. Fish forms an important part of diets around the world, particularly for people living near rivers, coasts and other water bodies. A number of traditional communities are taking out rallies against the occupation of fishing resources. Majority of human settlements are situated in close proximity to water bodies. Increasing urbanisation and industrial activities have caused pollution, destroying natural source of income of the communities living close to these waters.
This has also led to depletion of fish stocks in the immediate vicinity, requiring fishermen to fish farther and farther away from their traditional grounds. Besides, overfishing and mechanisation has also resulted in a crisis – fish stocks are being depleted through ‘factory’ vessels, bottom trawling, and other means. The World Fisheries Day helps to highlight these problems and move towards finding solutions to the increasingly inter-connected problems fishermen are facing.

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