ISLAMABAD (APP) - The Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF), a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) would continue its efforts to assist the fisheries sector in Pakistan in 2010. Pakistan has a fish and seafood industry that includes ancillary industries worth US$ 1.2 billion, says Arthur Bayhan, CSFs Chief Executive Officer, pointing out that the industry is under threat from two sides. One is overfishing, that threatens to reduce the resource base and hence the yields while the other is from poor quality control, which means that the value of the catch is not being maximized and much go waste, Mr. Bayhan says. According to a statement issued here, the CSF has been assisting Pakistans fisheries sector since 2007 on request from an Inter-Provincial Consultative Committee (IPCC). CSF intervened by deploying one of its fishery experts Mr. Robert Lindley to undertake a study on the fisheries of Pakistan. The study identified three areas where competitiveness was low and could be improved. These were: i. Value losses in the cool chain of the existing marine catch, both for export and for internal consumption (several competitiveness issues were identified) ii. Fisheries management shortcomings leading to poor resource utilization and overfishing of resources and iii. Aquaculture, where production is far below potential As an immediate response to the first of these identified problems, an action plan, concentrating on the Fish Harbor in West Karachi was presented, which recommended changes in management at the KFH and proposed infrastructure investments to improve quality of the fish passing through. In addition a Working Group to guide the future of the KFH was established. This was followed up by the production of a roadmap for the Karachi Fish Harbor produced by CSF in 2008, which identified the steps necessary to achieve management change at the harbor. Subsequently in 2009 the CSF provided assistance to the Sindh Fisheries Department on a series of initiatives and programs. These have included reviewing the master plan for the development of Karachi Fisheries Harbor, assisting with the development of a fisheries strategy for the province, appraising several development project proposals and investigating the constraints to aquaculture, particularly in the Indus Delta region. Currently, CSF is assisting the Sindh Government on the opportunities for developing the fisheries of the Indus Delta region. The CSF will review options for fishing port development and also address other ways of improving the income and livelihoods of the indigenous fishermen of Thatta and Badin. The CSF has also carried out a survey of fisheries in coastal Balochistan. The CSF Fisheries Specialist visited Quetta and coastal areas including the ports of Gwadar and Pasni. As in Sindh it was identified that stronger fisheries management would be beneficial so as to prevent overfishing and declining catches, fish quality control was important, and that there was potential for some aquaculture in the coastal belt. Looking forward CSF is committed to continuing its diversified support on Coastal Fisheries Development and Aquaculture, to the Governments of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan, as requested by them.