Fifty thousand fishermen go out to sea from the coastal area of Baluchistan [more than 1,000km long] every day to earn a living for their families. They retrace the same ritual every day, like their fathers and grandfathers have been done for decades and centuries. They manage to catch something around 150,000 tons for a total value of 330 million dollars per year, but 70% of the result of their efforts is not suitable for human consumption and it goes largely to feed the fish meal industry spoiling the remuneration of these hard workers.
Several reasons are preventing these workers from generating a better livelihood: on the sea they are still using inadequate techniques to fish and to handle the catch on board. Then the lack of financial means doesn’t allow them to improve their simple and small boat. So the fish goes from the water into inappropriate fish hold, where in addition the lack of ice doesn’t protect the catch from getting rotten.
It’s to help these workers to improve their skills and therefore increase their income that the European Union funded Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA II) programme has designed a training programme to forge a good batch of master trainers from Baluchistan Fisheries Department, Lasbela University and some local leading NGOs to provide in turn to the fishermen community on the site on hand support.
The training started on November 18th and it will be completed by the end of this month. Two international experts with extensive experience in fish industry Dr Mike Dillon, associated with Institute of Productivity UK and Mr. Chris Leftwich is President of International Association of Seafood Association are conducting the 10 training sessions for the training participants.
At the inaugural session of the training, Mir Hajji Akbar Askani, Advisor for Baluchistan Fisheries Department was the chief guest while Mr. Benoist Bazin, Head of Rural Development and Economic Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Pakistan and Mr. Bruno Valanzuolo, Officer in-charge of UNIDO and Chief Technical Advisor of TRTA II programme were also present at the occasion.
During the certificate distribution ceremony, training participants expressed their feelings and comments that the training was really a remarkable step towards the betterment of Baluchistan fishermen. The resource persons way of dissemination knowledge was excellent to understand. Now these Master trainers will further train the fishermen in Baluchistan. Mir Hajji Akbar Askani, Advisor for Baluchistan Fisheries Department distributed the certificates to the training participants.
Some Glimps of Current Fish Handling Practices in Baluchistan