ISLAMABAD: The government in Pakistan's southern Balochistan province earlier this week banned fishing and trawling off the Gwadar coast after talks with protesters from the local fishing community.
A group of protestors in the Gwadar port city staged a sit-in earlier this week, complaining the government was not doing enough to prevent “illegal trawling” in the Arabian Sea and maintaining the practice was depriving residents of a major livelihood source.
According to data shared by the local fishing community, about 80 percent of people in Gwadar district are associated with the fishing industry. Regular trawling in the area has forced more than a dozen fish processing facilities to shut their operations.
The provincial government held negotiations with the protesters and subsequently decided to ban the practice.
"With prior approval [of] the competent authority, Government of Balochistan is pleased to impose ban on illegal fishing/trawling in twelve (12) Nautical Miles of Gwadar sea area with immediate effect," the Balochistan home department said in a notification on Wednesday.
After talks with protesters, Balochistan Planning Minister Zahoor Buledi said, the government had empowered fisheries department, civil administration and the marine security agency to prevent illegal trawling off the Gwadar coast.
"More steps will be taken to safeguard the livelihood of fisherfolk and prevent marine life from going extinct," Buledi said on Twitter.
Gwadar has been central to the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that promises to secure the economic well-being of the people by enhancing regional trade and connectivity.
However, its residents, along with the people of Turbat district, staged a massive demonstration against the unavailability of basic amenities, such as clean drinking water, in the area this September.