Depleting fish resources and malnutrition
ACCORDING to reports, Pakistan ranks 50th among the nations whose marine fish resources are most vulnerable due to climate change and ocean acidification as a result of reduced sea water PH and rise in temperature (climatic change) induced by industrial growth and pollution.
This threat is directly related to high CO2 emissions in the environment and unless steps are taken to control it, the people will soon find fish and seafood unable to meet their nutritional requirements.
This scarcity may also reflect upon the lifestyle of certain people living in provinces having coastal belts whose main diet consists of fish and seafood for subsistence.
Reporting on the enormity of the threat, the report further goes on to state that “Over a billion people rely on seafood as their main source of protein. Before mid-century, global population is expected to reach nine billion, creating further demand for ocean-based food.
Many nations struggling with nutrition will be further challenged, and citizens of some developing nations will likely turn to inferior foods.”
Needless to say, the lack of seafood may mean more dependence on less healthy processed foods imported from abroad.
It is reported that “communities that have recently made a shift from eating traditional seafood items to importing cheap, processed foods have suffered widespread health problems.
For example, about 40 per cent people of Pacific island-nations have been diagnosed with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or hypertension.”
Since ocean temperatures are rising dramatically in many regions, some marine species are forced to move farther away into deeper waters. This changed phenomenon is also causing many fish species to migrate to better benthic grounds at a rate of 20 miles or more a decade.
A country like Pakistan whose maximum sustainable yield has already crossed its limit does not possess industrial fishing fleets to chase these moving populations and will suffer the brunt most heavily.
It is time the ministry of fisheries took a note of this impending catastrophe and took immediate measures to control industrial waste and pollution management to save our marine resources from complete depletion as these not only fetch dear foreign exchange for the national exchequer but also cater to the nutrition and nourishment of the already undernourished citizens.