January 20, 2013
Piracy at sea, growing oil shipments and illegal fishing have imperilled the marine life, experts said on Saturday. Inviting government’s attention on fast depleting ecology, marine experts enumerated problems which posed multiple threats to the sea the world over.
Speakers at the regional workshop organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF-P) on ‘Sustainable Marine Resources’ called for a “robust” management system to ensure conservation of marine resources against various threats. Technical Adviser on Marine Fisheries to WWF-Pakistan Moazzam presented a paper on ‘sailing in difficult waters of Somalia’ on behalf of the director-general of Fisheries and Environment, Ministry of National Resources, Somalia, Ahmed Mohamed Iman, saying piracy had become a booming business with growing threats to navigation.
According to his presentation, maritime piracy on the Somali coast had become a key threat and concern for the global community. He was of the view that piracy was believed to be an easy way to strike it rich overnight. Highlighting various contamination scenarios, he said that marine resources along the coast of Somalia was fast becoming a growing threat, adding that illegal foreign ships were dumping vast amounts of chemicals, including cadmium and nuclear materials, presenting a growing level of threat to the marine life.
Senior Director of the local chapter of WWF Dr Ejaz Ahmad observed that the Arabian Sea was a major eco-region with a huge potential for marine resources. He said there was a proposed project which “will focus on achieving political commitment, shared vision and institutional capacity demonstrated for a joint ecosystem-based management for marine resources”.
He hoped the project will achieve its goals via a border regional collaboration between neighbouring countries and institutionalising research. Director of the Sindh chapter of WWF Rab Nawaz said the alliance was aimed to build a better world. He also said the Pakistan chapter of WWF focused on strengthening existing conservation mechanisms and introducing regional approaches in the North Indian Ocean (NIO). He said: “Unsustainable fishing is a major challenge that will be tackled with the help of multi-stakeholder partnerships.”
Senior Fisheries Researcher from Iran Tooraj Valinassab expressed concern over the growing number of ships sailing through the Gulf. “About 15,000 shipping operations take place annually and a number of oil wells have been noticed in the Persian Gulf which threaten marine ecology and causing pollution in the Gulf,” he said. Terming illegal fishing a matter of great concern, he said that there was a need to discourage Iranian fishermen from smuggling seafood catch to Kuwait, instead of selling it on their local markets.