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Aquaculture Important for Reducing Food Insecurity in Pakistan

21 August 2013

PAKISTAN - Speaking at the Pakistan Aquaculture and Fisheries Society (PAFS) annual conference, experts said that aquaculture could lead to a rich supply of protein in Pakistan, where many are suffering from malnutrition, and could also be a potential source of income.

The experts added that Pakistan has great potential for aquaculture, but due to a lack of knowledge, scientific research in the sector, water pollution, and unsustainable fisheries, this sector is neglected, reports DailyTimes.

The two-day conference highlighted opportunities and discussed the problems facing the country's aquaculture industry.

Dr Hina Baig moderated the inaugural session, in which Director KU-HEC-ORIC Professor Shahana Urooj Kazmi, while introducing the conference theme highlighted the enormous opportunities and challenges.

Professor Gleyn Bledsoe, University of Idaho, US, emphasised that aquaculture and fishery society should be made self-sufficient, and a yearly conference should be organised to bring industry and researchers together.

Director General National Centre for Maritime Policy Research Vice Admiral Asaf Humayun was the Chief Guest of the conference. He acknowledged the importance of aquaculture in Pakistan, and urged to bridge the gap between industry and researchers.

"Pakistan being the fifth or sixth largest populated country feeds many people, and therefore, food security in this sector is very important for creating jobs," he said.

Mohammad Moazzam Khan, Ex-Director MFD, WWF-Pakistan also spoke on the occasion and said that similar to livestock and poultry, aquaculture is an important source for food. "Eating fish is still taken as a luxury in Pakistan, and is not included in the stable, daily diet. We need to change this, and aquaculture can be a great source for that," said Khan.

He added that many fish varieties could have gone extinct in Pakistan; but due to aquaculture, this isn't the case. "If there wasn't aquaculture, we couldn't have even imagined buying fish here; but thanks to fish farming, the fish price is less compared to the international market."

However, there are some adverse impacts too of fish farming on the general ecology and water resources. On contact, Khan admitted the same. "Usually, in fish farms, special food is given to the fish, along with medicines and other chemicals to treat different diseases, and keep them healthy. But when the water is removed from the farm, it has all those chemicals and excess food, causing eutrophication (water bodies receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth) in the water sources where farm water is thrown," he said.


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