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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2009)

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    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefUpdated 02-2017

    Pakistan’s coast extends 1 100 km from India to Iran, with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 240 000 km2. The continental shelf area is about 50 270 km2. The total maritime zone of Pakistan is over 30 percent of the land area and includes some very productive areas, with rich fisheries and mineral resources. The only major freshwater input comes from the Indus River at the eastern extremity, which discharges some 200 km3 of water and 450 million tonnes of suspended sediment annually. The coastal ecosystem includes numerous deltas and estuaries with extensive inter-tidal mudflats and their associated wetlands, sandy beaches, rocky shores, mangroves and sea grasses.

    Marine fisheries in Pakistan is being carried out on two distinct grounds i.e. coastline covering Mekran (Balochistan) as well as the coast of Karachi (Sindh). Sindh and Balochistan coasts comprise of many widely dispersed, small landing places utilized by small craft equipped with sails and/or outboard engines. The marine fish are marketed as fresh, freezing, canning for local consumption.

    Karachi and Mekran being the most important fishing ports are being developed by the Government of Pakistan as a fishing centre.

    Even as per capita consumption is rather low (1.9 kg in 2013), fisheries play an important role in the national economy. The marine capture fisheries sector contributes 359 534 tonnes (2015), about 73 percent of capture production and 56 percent of total fish production. Inland capture and aquaculture productions (2015) were 132 456 tonnes and tonnes, 151 055, contributing 21 percent and 23 percent, respectively. In 2010, exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 266 million and represented 1.2 percent of total merchandise trade. Recent statistics indicate that fish exports and fish preparations during the second half of 2011 increased by more than 16 percent in value and 6 percent in quantity in comparison to the same period in 2010.

    Inland fisheries is generally of a subsistence nature, based on rivers, irrigation canals and reservoirs, with some 211 609 people involved in 2014. In 2014 marine coastal fishing employed over 194 420 people.

    Fishing, the most important economic activity in the villages and towns along the coast, and in most of the coastal villages and settlements, is the sole source of employment and income generation. However, according to recent press reports, the fisheries sector provides jobs for only about one per cent of the country’s labour force. The marine capture fisheries comprise both artisanal and commercial scale operations. Almost the entire fleet has been either motorized or mechanized, and freezing is the main mode for processing.

    Main fisheries include the shrimp trawl fishery, tuna fishery, industrial deep sea fishery, small-scale demersal fishery, and small pelagic fishery. For the marine fishery sector, close to 9 899 powered vessels, were reported in 2014, from which 32% were undecked. The marine fishing fleet was primarily composed of gill-netters (59 percent) and secondarily by trawlers (41 percent). A fishing boat census has been initiated to determine operational fishing boats as well as the level of fishing efforts in various fisheries.

    Aquaculture received increasing attention in recent years. Fish farming is practised in Punjab, Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), and Sindh Province on a limited scale, using trout, common carp, grass carp, silver carp and other carp species which have been introduced, alongside the native Indian carps.

    Farming of marine shrimp species has started on a pilot scale (using Penaeus merguiensis and P. indicus) along the Sindh and Balochistan coasts, Aquaculture is being promoted by the rehabilitation of hatcheries; cage culture is being experimented in five major water bodies.

    Main Issues

    Efforts are being made to reduce post-harvest losses with the government’s provision of 75 percent of the cost involved in the improvement of fish holds. Modern markets in major cities are needed to cope with increasing landings and fish production and to improve the marketing of the locally produced fisheries and aquaculture products.

    Overall, regulation on the control of use of harmful gears has been improved including, for instance, the ban on the use of purse seine and trawl nets in different areas. There is no regulation limiting the number of fishing boats in the small-scale fishery, as this is open access fishery. Capacity management applies only to industrial fishing. Licences are issued on the basis of vessel gross registered tonnage and aimed to allocate different-sized vessels to various zones of the EEZ. Implementation of reducing shrimp trawling is difficult.

    The fisheries and aquaculture sector in Pakistan vulnerable to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. In recent year’s earthquakes, tropical storms and major floods have caused considerable damage, loss of life and damage to the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Strengthening the preparedness of the sector (within a national disaster preparedness plan) is seen as important.

    Pakistan is a Party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea since February 1997. It has signed the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement in February 1996 but has not ratified it to date.
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data – The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

    Shelf area 20 210 km2

    Sea Around Us


    Length of continental coastline 1 046 km

    World by Map:


    Fisheries GVA .> 1% of National GDP World Bank: Islamic Republic Of Pakistan: Balochistan Needs Assessment. Development Issues And Prospects Report No: ACS2258 v4

    Key statistics


    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

    Table 2 – Employment and Fleet Statistics - The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

          1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands)
    FLEET(thousands vessels) 34.05 35.16 35.78 30.09 31.55
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Updated 2009The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_PK.pdf

    Additional information

    Meetings & News archive


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