LAHORE - Speakers at a seminar at the Government College University Lahore emphasized the need for promoting fish consumption and aquaculture for healthy Pakistan, saying that the country had a great potential for fish farming which needed immediate government support and collaboration among universities, research institutions and framing industry.

In his key note address at the seminar organized by the university’s Zoology Department in connection with the World Fisheries Day celebrations, Punjab Fisheries Board Chief Executive Officer Dr Ansar Chatta said fisheries was among the top priorities of the new government which last month signed an agreement with Chinese government for strengthening a fisheries industry in Pakistan through CPEC. Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah laid stress on growing the fisheries industry in Pakistan on scientific basis, saying that it would not only increase their exports but would also alleviate the poverty of fishermen. He directed Zoology Department to propose the government and industry different research projects which would help improve aquaculture in Pakistan. GCU Zoology Department Chairperson Dr Muhammad Tahir said that the growth rate of aquaculture was quite low in Pakistan. “The area under fish culture in Punjab is only 71563 acres.

Similarly, the consumption is also very low, approximately 2.2kg per capita as compared to the rest of the world where it is 19kg per capita,” he added.

Keeping in view, Dr. Tahir said, the importance of World Fisheries Day was further increased in Pakistan so that local farmers, businessmen and society in general could be made aware of the significance in this filed.

Director Punjab Fisheries Dr Zafar Ullah Bhatti, Pakistan Fisheries Society President Dr Muhammad Ayub, eminent aqua-industrialist Mr. Sami Ullah, fish feed expert Mr Umar Asalm Awan and eminent zoologist Prof. Dr. Khalid Pervez Lone also addressed the seminar preceded by an awareness walk and fish cooking competition.

A large number of both male and female students presented different Chinese and Pakistani style fish dishes at the cooking competition which was surprisingly won by a group of boys comprising Sajjad Ali and Idrees Asad. Maryam Laiqat secured the second position while Muneeba Ahmed stood third in the competition.