Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said Pakistan could develop its economy by benefiting from the potential of the blue economy. Blue economy refers to social and economic development using the seas and oceans while protecting the marine environment and linked communities.
Mian Zahid Hussain said the blue economy includes fisheries, aquaculture, marine life, transportation, tourism, coastal welfare, and other coastal and maritime matters.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that farming plants, marine life, and fishing provide seventeen per cent of animal protein to the entire human population.
The blue economy also includes marine and offshore wind energy, seafood industry, tourism, and exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the sea, but the present major part of Pakistan’s blue economy of lists of marine transport only.
Global maritime trade accounts for US$2.5 trillion, and Pakistan exports seafood worth only 430 million dollars annually, which is plagued by various problems. Old and outdated fishing methods that do not protect the lives of fishermen, he informed.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan needs to equip its workforce with modern training, methods, tools, skills, and corporate culture to take full advantage of the blue economy,
Pakistan must adapt to international standards and benefit from global demands for seafood export. Port Qasim Authority and Karachi Port Trust are government-run entities that earn hundreds of billions of rupees, but this is likely to increase substantially.
If Pakistan can use its ports for trade with landlocked Central Asian states, this sector can be revolutionised. At the same time, Gwadar can be developed as a hub for transhipment, ship repair, and shipbuilding.
Gwadar has immense potential for fisheries and aquaculture, which needs to be exploited as port expansion will change the condition of the local people and boost the maritime industry, which requires serious efforts.
Mian Zahid Hussain said there are 529 species of fish in Pakistan, of which 230 are freshwater fish and the remaining 296 are marine fish. Pakistan has immense maritime potential and opportunities which are yet to be fully realized. According to global trends, prioritizing the blue economy has become very important.