This is apropos Faiza Ilyas piece on Alarm over mangrove devastation in which she has stressed the need to conserve mangroves in our coastal areas and has attributed it to the lack of awareness among the people. I am sorry to say that I do not agree with her.
All people living on the coastal belt of Sindh are fully aware of the significance of mangroves, if not much about its importance to the environment, to the productivity of fish and shrimp which come to lay eggs there during the spawning season and then swim back to deeper waters once spawned and grown enough to move.
Similarly, the parent fish flock does and during this transition from shallow waters to deeper waters some are lost due to predators.
In my opinion, the basic problem with the destruction of mangroves is overpopulation, pollution due to an indiscriminate running down of hazardous sewage there, lack of good governance by the existing fisheries and environmental authorities and acquisition of mangrove areas, particularly those situated near urban joints, by the locals or the land mafia.
It is here in these mangrove-covered areas and around that the local fishermen do most of their netting for juveniles and thus cause devastation to fish resources.
Poverty and unemployment are yet other factors conducive to such action by the poor fishermen and there is a desperate need to alleviate it through proper fishery planning and development.
The fishermen living near and around the mangrove sites should be provided with reasonable sustenance by the fish industry as well as by the government during the off-season or rather the closed fishing season.
Unless this and more is done, then not only will the destruction of mangroves cause a great loss to our environmental ecosystem but it will also continue to reduce our fishery resources to the verge of extinction sooner than we can expect.
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