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90% of fish consumed in Pakistan is contaminated, says WWF

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Approximately 90% of the fish consumed in the country is contaminated, putrefied, and unfit for human consumption, The News reported while citing a World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) official. 

Muhammad Moazzam Khan, WWF’s technical adviser on marine fisheries and former director general of the marine fisheries department, shared the assessment at seminar titled ‘Blue Economy: An Avenue for Development in Pakistan’ held at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.

Khan insisted that the large percentage of fish sold in shops and on roadside carts were unfit for human consumption. The speakers at the seminar shed light on various aspects of Pakistan’s blue economy, challenges it faces, marine fisheries issues, and the socioeconomic uplift of coastal communities.

“Fish are very delicate protein item and putrefy very quickly if not iced or frozen as soon as possible,” Khan explained. “Fish are usually kept at the room temperature and sometimes at above 40 degree Celsius and vendors sprinkle water on them to make them look fresher and keep them from decaying. But they have already become unfit for consumption, yet people buy and consequently, fall sick.”

He suggested that fish be stored between 0 and 5 degree Celsius to prevent it from rotting. The WWF representative pointed out Pakistan exported around 10 per cent of the produce and the rest was degraded or damaged as most boats lacked proper deep freezers and other facilities to store the catch.

He remarked that export of seafood in terms of volume is increasing, but still we are unable to achieve a large target due to a number of factors, including lack of proper processing facilities and low quality controls.

Khan lamented that fisheries remained a completely unregulated sector in Pakistan as the fleet size had increased tremendously unchecked. According to a survey carried out in 2016, the overall fleet size comprised 11,500 vessels, but now it was estimated to have topped 20,000, which needed to be cut down to 5,000 to 6,000 to preserve the fish resource, he said.

Vice Admiral (retd) Asif Humayun explained why the blue economy was a new frontier for Pakistan. Towards the end, he suggested a way forward to tap the full potential of the sea and marine resources to support the national economy.

He said Pakistan had three commercial ports, and the Port Qasim had emerged as the leading port in the country with an annual profit of over Rs90 billion as it handled 52 per cent of Pakistan’s total cargo.

The retired navy officer said that the Karachi Port Trust had also increased its capacity but its profitability was stagnant due to a huge debt burden and transportation hurdles within Karachi. Gwadar is a port for the future, Humayun said, adding it had a huge potential for transshipment, bunkering, ship repair and other facilities but it handled less than 80,000 tonnes of cargo every year.

The former vice admiral pointed out that the country’s ports were relatively inefficient with their cargo handling being slow, and the tariff was high. He called upon the maritime affairs department to look into these issues and resolve them so the ports could attract more transshipment cargo and transit trade.

After the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, he maintained all Central Asian states had expressed their desire to use Pakistani ports for transit and transshipment of cargo.

Seafarers

Pakistan had about 22,000 registered seafarers while currently about 6,000 personnel regularly sailed in the sea, he said and added that most of those seafarers were employed by foreign ships because Pakistan had only 11 ships.

Comparatively, Filipino seafarers earned forex worth around five billion dollars while Indian over one billion dollars.

Coastal communities

Saeed Baloch, the general secretary of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, lamented that fish used to be a cheap and clean source of protein for the poor coastal communities but it were turning into a luxury item due to rising cost. “Ninety per cent of the fishing boats have become motorised and use fuel. Rising fuel prices have pushed up the cost of fish and related products,” he remarked.

Baloch said the fishing community helped the country earn forex up to 300 to 400 million dollars annually through the export of seafood but it was unable to increase the exports because their own lives weren’t improving.

Talking about obstacles to increasing the volume of fish being produced in Pakistan, he said no comprehensive policy had been devised yet to govern the fisheries sector. Baloch lamented that successive governments devised no policy to improve the lifestyle of fishing communities living in decades-old environment without basic amenities such as potable water and drainage systems. He also discussed the issue of sea pollution due to enormous discharge of untreated effluent into the sea.

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Current weather: Will Karachi see any rain today?

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There is no probability of rain in Karachi, although there may be some light rain in some areas of the city, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Monday.

The city will continue to see overcast weather, according to the Met Office, which also noted that the westerly winds had left Sindh.

According to the PMD, Karachi’s current temperature is 28°C, and the air’s humidity is 61%. The wind is blowing quickly out of the west.

“The maximum temperature in Karachi is likely to be 30 to 32°C,” it said. Meanwhile, there’s a chance of light rain in several areas of Sindh.

A day prior, there had been rain and thunderstorms in a number of Karachi neighborhoods, including Mauripur, North Karachi, Gulistane-e-Johar and the neighboring suburbs, Saddar, Soldier Bazar, the Airport, and Clifton.

Surjani Town reported the maximum rainfall of 34 millimeters, while Nazimabad, Gulshan-e-Hadid, Faisal Base, Sharea Faisal, and Keamari received 21.2, 20, and 19 millimeters of rain, respectively.

Subsequently, rainfall totals of 18 mm were reported at Masroor Base, 17 mm at Korangi, 15.7 mm at University Road, 15.1 mm at Old Airport, 15 mm at Saadi Town and North Karachi, 14.4 mm at Orangi Town, 13 mm at Saddar, 12 mm at Malir, 5.5 mm at Defence Housing Society (DHA), and 5 mm at Quaidabad.

The Met Office reported that Jinnah Terminal recorded the lowest amount of rain, 1.2 mm.

It rained in Karachi as predicted, according to Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz.

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Punjab sets a Rs. 16 roti price.

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On Sunday, the Punjabi government lowered the cost of rotis from Rs 20 to Rs 16.

“Thank God, the Punjabi government has lowered the cost of roti to Rs16,” stated a post on the social media site X by Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

According to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, all districts in Punjab and pertinent departments have received instructions to guarantee that this decision is strictly followed.

Previously, on Wednesday, the Punjab cabinet decided to set Rs3,900 per 40kg as the minimum support price for wheat in 2023–2024.

Leading the Punjab government is Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who has approved the Wheat Procurement Policy 2024–25.
Punjab sets the price of its heat support at Rs. 3-900 per 40 kg, according tources.

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How Can I Register Online for the Punjab E-Bike Scheme? Examine the Step-by-Step Guide.

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The Punjabi government has begun the process of registering motorcycles for students in the area on a monthly interest-free payment plan.

At least 19,000 gasoline and 1,000 E-bikes will be given away in the first phase. The Punjab government will cover the applicants’ down payment and markup in installments.

Due to the exorbitant cost of two-wheelers, the Interest-Free Bike Scheme 2024 was created to lessen the financial burden on students.

A Rs. 20,000 down payment is part of the proposal. For two years, students will pay for their bikes in convenient monthly installments. Based on the facts provided, male students will have to pay more than Rs. 11,000 per month, while female students will pay Rs. 7,325 per month.

Whereas petrol bikes would be dispersed in other districts according to population, e-bikes will be given out in Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi, and Lahore.

Take these actions to register for the Punjab Motorcycle Scheme:

Visit the authorized website, bikes.punjab.gov.pk.
Locate the section for registration.
Fill out the registration form with the necessary personal data.
Upload any necessary files by following the given instructions.
Verify the accuracy of the information.
Send in the registration form.

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