KARACHI/ISLAMABAD, (MANEND NEWS): Mapping and development of
strategic human and natural resources in the maritime sector is the
need of the hour to sow the seeds of blue economic revolution in
This was the crux of the views expressed by maritime policy experts
and marine scientists at a webinar titled ‘The Ocean: Life, Livelihood
and Sustainability – Opportunities and Challenges for Pakistan’, which
was organized on the eve of World Oceans Day 2021 by Institute of
Policy Studies (IPS) in collaboration with University of Karachi,
National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), Pakistan Maritime
Security Agency (PMSA), and Maritime Study Forum (MSF).
The webinar was chaired by Ambassador (retd) Syed Abrar Hussain,
IPS’ vice chairman and addressed by Dr. Azhar Ahmad, associate
professor, Bahria University, Dr. Nuzhat Khan, former director general,
National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Nisar A. Memon, technocrat
and former chairman of the parliamentary committee on water
resources, Dr. Asma Tabassum, manager ORIC, Karachi University,
Naghmana Zafar, senior research fellow, NIMA, Naufil Shahrukh, GM
Operations, IPS and general secretary, Maritime Study Forum (MSF),
while Commander Moeed, Lt Cdr Imran, and Lt Jameel represented the
PMSA. The session was moderated by Hafiz Inamullah Khan, deputy
manager outreach at IPS.
The discussants were of the view that developing aquaculture is critical
for enhancing the livelihood means and skills of the fisherfolk coastal
communities of Pakistan, which populate the 1001km long coastline of
the country in large numbers. Research done in universities can help
them in developing aquaculture in their coastal villages for algae, sea
grasses, and several other valuable biological species having great
economical, medicinal and environmental importance.
A lot of meaningful research focusing the marine resources of Pakistan
has already been carried out in Karachi University, Bahria University
and other universities and research institutions, however the
government’s apathy and lack of interest in the industrial sector to
invest in R&D and commercialize available academic research is a big
hurdle that needs to be overcome, they deplored.
Integrated coastal zone management and strict enforcement of
national and international environmental laws to protect the sea and
its resources was also emphasized by the speakers.
During the discussion in the webinar, it was highlighted that all over
the world coastal communities are better off because the coastal areas
are more developed. But in Pakistan, except for Karachi, the entire
coast has remained neglected. Although CPEC has given a fillip to the
maritime sector, more concerted efforts are required to impart modern
training and necessary skills in all elements of blue economy.
The National Maritime Policy, promulgated in 2002, was revised in
draft form almost a decade back but could not be finalized so far,
which the discussants termed as apathy and nonchalance for maritime
affairs on the part of the policymakers. Pakistan needs a
comprehensive maritime policy which should be formulated by taking
all the stakeholders on board, it was urged.
The speakers lauded the efforts of IPS to address sea blindness in
Pakistan and help create a maritime research community engaging
universities and think tanks across the country. To enhance awareness
of the oceans and maritime sector, introduction of the subject in the
educational curriculum at various levels was also advocated.
Commenting on the deteriorating ocean health, the discussants urged
the PMSA to take the lead in enforcing environmental laws strictly by
creating synergies among the environmental protection agencies of
Sindh and Balochistan and the local governments of the coastal
districts of both the provinces.