Pakistani water resources, rivers, lakes, ponds, pools, ditches, and marine water provide micro and macrohabitat to 531 species including 233  exclusively water fishes, Mahseer being the national fish of Pakistan. Fresh Water Fish Fauna of Pakistan remains 12 exotic species, 43 Endemic species (22.75 % of the total fish fauna).

By Prof Dr Abdullah G Arijo

According to IUCN status of fish species, I species is critically endangered, 2 species are vulnerable, 8 are near to threatened, 8, data deficient, 76 fishes are not evaluated, while 100 species are in the list of least concerned.

Tuna Fish is Powerhouse of Essential Nutrients

The river system of Pakistan may be divided into three river systems. The Indus drainage, Balochistan coastal drainage, and Land locked river system. The Indus drainage is the largest river system, originates from Kailas range in western Tibet (China) with Length of 3,100 km, with average discharge: 5.6 x 1000 m 3 sec-1 with a drainage area of 1,165,500 km 2. Entire river system and its attributes are rich in fish fauna known for the taste.


All along the coastal line of 1120 km, the marine fish fauna includes 800 species of which 100 are commercially important, Tuna being on top. However, there are identification issues associated with fish taxonomy, therefore DNA barcoding is imperative.

Pakistan’s fishing potential is highly encouraging. In the Sindh alone there are more than 100 natural lakes of different sizes covering an area of about 100,000 ha. Among them, Haleji lake (1,800 ha) West of Thatta, Kinjhar Lake (12,000 ha) North of Thatta and Manchar lake (16,000 ha) in Dadu district are quite important for fish production. Manchar alone supports 2,000 fishing families. Apart from these big lakes, a cluster of small lakes extends over 40,000 ha. The natural lakes in Punjab cover about 7,000 ha. Some of the lakes, such as Namal lake (480 ha), Uchhali lake (943 ha), Jahlar lake (100 ha), Kallar Kahar (100 ha), Kharal lake (235 ha) and Khabikki lake (283 ha) are brackish and are too saline to support aquaculture. Other man-made lakes include Mangla dam, Terbela dam and Chashma Barrage).

On the other hand, Pakistan is rich in Sea Fish resources having an 814Km coastal line and a vast variety of Sea Fish which are exported in significant volumes worldwide. METRO is the pioneer in establishing By Air supply chain of Sea Fish from Karachi to Punjab as it was the need of the hour to provide fresh catch with minimum transportation time and in the well-equipped hygienic mechanism. After processing fish is packed in the boxes with Dry Ice to keep the temperature at 0-4C which enhances the shelf life of fish & provides the best quality to the customers.

Tuna and tuna-like species are very important economically to both developed and developing countries — and a significant source of food. They include approximately 40 species occurring in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and in the Mediterranean Sea. They are remarkable fish. Tuna can jump high out of the water; they travel in huge schools; they are warm-blooded. They have been known to team up with dolphins for protection from sharks.

Tuna and tuna-like fishes are one of the components of pelagic resources. In Pakistan, mainly neritic and oceanic species are encountered in the tuna fishery. Tuna fishing fleet comprises of about 709 gillnet boats. The total production of tunas and tuna-like fishes, including Neritic and Oceanic tunas, Billfishes and Seer fishes during the year 2016 was 101,225 m. tones.

Tuna Issues

he world’s tuna fisheries face several urgent, common problems that threaten their continued existence and endanger wider marine ecosystems.

The world’s tuna fisheries face several urgent, common problems that threaten their continued existence and endanger wider marine ecosystems:

• Alarming tuna stock declines
• Poor conservation and management strategies
• High levels of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing
• Significant bycatch of sharks, marine turtles, seabirds, small cetaceans, juvenile tuna, and other fish

Due to the amazing key fact on tuna fish, it is caught more than it breeds. It mayresult in population shrinkage. Approximately 7 million tons of tuna and tuna-like species are landed yearly. As migratory tuna species account for 20 per cent of the value of all marine capture fisheries and over eight per cent of all globally traded seafood, the celebration by the United Nations of World Tuna Day is an important step in recognizing the critical role of tuna to sustainable development, food security, economic opportunity, and livelihoods of people around the world.

World Tuna Day Background

2 May 2017 was the first internationally recognized World Tuna Day. In December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly voted to officially observe the Day in its resolution 71/124. The move underlined the importance of conservation management to ensure that we have systems in place to prevent tuna stocks from crashing. Many countries depend heavily on tuna resources for food security and nutrition, economic development, employment, government revenue, livelihoods, culture and recreation.

At present, over 96 countries are involved in the conservation and management of tuna with an annual value of almost 10 billion USD. Initiatives by the government of Pakistan are yet to be on air. The main problems the fishing industry is facing in Pakistan are Water Pollution, Pollution on the Coast of Pakistan particularly in Karachi due to industrial effluent. Pakistan government must embark upon mass awareness programs and short-term training on issues and option of associated with fisheries industry, particularly Tuna.
No one bothers about Karachi’s catastrophic pollution of the sea. Untreated waste and oil spills from the city’s two ports endanger marine life and the livelihood of Pakistan’s fishermen.

With around 22 million people, Karachi produces up to 12,000 tons of solid waste every day, almost all of it ends up in Karachi coast

Nearly 15 years ago, there was huge fishing potential near Karachi shore, but there are no fish near the shores and fisherman must travel into the open sea to find the catch. This all is due to water pollution. Pollution has destroyed fish catch, and Karachi’s fishermen are facing difficult times. The residents in this oldest fishing village are running out of luck as they must find ways to survive with the growing pollution from Pakistan’s largest city. These days they need powerful motorboats, bigger fishing nets and extra men to sail into the open sea and spend several days in search of fish.
Karachi with around 10,000 industrial units that manufacture everything from textiles to chemicals and paints. The most polluting, in terms of chemical waste, are the tanneries.

Ecologists are worried about increasing marine pollution. Some experts express their concern saying that pollution has badly affected the fish catch and marine life. Many times, carcasses of endangered green turtles have been seen because of the pollution, especially due to the throwing of plastic waste into the sea. If this all continues, there is every likelihood that precious fish species including tuna can face the music of pollution, trouble seems to be to close by now.

Prof Dr Abdullah G Arijo Department of Parasitology Sindh Agriculture University-Pakistan