File Photo: Zafar Baloch, a young fisherman in Pakistan's port city of Gwadar is holding fish in his hands: Photo Manan Mandokhail

Woes of fishermen in Gwadar

Manan Mandokhail :

“I spend most of the day fishing in this sea”, Zafar Baloch, a young fisherman in Gwadar says. Like Zafar, most of the fishermen spend their whole day from dawn to dusk to catch a fish. “Morning is the best time for catching fish”, 26-year old Zafar Baloch mentioned. Fishermen said fish comes from the deep sea to the edge of the ocean to enjoy the sunlight. Mr. Baloch takes his boat along with his six colleagues in the Arabian Sea near the Gwadar deep seaport for fishing.

Dozens of fishermen gathered at the Gwadar coast as the author interacted with them to get information about their plight. The fishermen complained about increasing taxes by the fisheries department government of Balochistan. The annual tax has jumped from Rs. 1400 to 24,000 rupees, he informed. Although, Akbar Askani, the Balochistan Fisheries Minister said, “this government is trying to address the grievances of fishermen”. He said the reduction of taxes on fishermen was under consideration.

70 percent of peoples jobs are linked with fishing with Gwadar 

In Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, over 70 percent of peoples’ jobs are linked with fishing. From grandfathers to grandsons, fishing is their profession and sole source of income. For 30 minutes, I throw the net into the deep sea to catch fish, he mentioned.

Today, I caught fish weighing 230kilograms along with six colleagues. My share becomes Rs. 700 today, Zafar informed. The fishermen sell fish at the coast as the buyers are always waiting for them. Then, the businessmen export fish to Karachi, Quetta, and other parts of the country.

For the last two decades, the federal government has promised to turn Gwadar city into one of the developed cities of the globe. However, people of Gwadar are still deprived of basic facilities especially drinking water.

Work of water distillation plant to be started soon: DG GDA 

Shahzeb Kakar, Director General of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), said work on a water distillation plant with the capacity to produce 5 million gallons per day was just getting started. Separately, two dams were already providing 50 million gallons of water to the parched city.
Currently, Iran is supplying 100 megawatts of electricity to Balochistan’s Makran division, of which Gwadar is a part. This, locals say, is insufficient and there are often month-long power breakdowns.

Pakistan has almost 11,00 long coastline inhabited by fishermen living along with small and big cities of the country. Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province in terms of the area has 750km long coast at the Arabian sea.

Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan has also assured the solution of issues faced by fishermen in the coastal belt of the province. However, Zafar Baloch, the young fisherman argues that the rulers must go beyond words and take practical steps to address our problems.

Woes of fishermen in Gwadar

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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.