KARACHI - The government is hopeful that European Union will lift ban over import of seafood from Pakistan, as the authorities have removed the deficiencies to fulfil the international criteria. This was observed by Zahid Ali Burghari, Sindh Minister of Fisheries, while addressing the media at Karachi Fish Harbour (KFH) on Friday. The minister said that the provincial government has taken initiatives to promote the fisheries sector that once had been the second biggest industry in the country. But due to the lack of proper policies this sector could not developed, facing the ban by the EU on its products. He said that Pakistan has an enormous potential in the fisheries and seafood sector and it can become a lucrative revenue earner if it is developed properly. Earlier, the minister along with Arthur Bayhan, Chief Executive Officer of Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) and other officials visited the area to examine the modified fishing boats, those have been upgraded to international standards by CSF in collaboration with the Government of Sindh and the Karachi Fish Harbour authorities. He said that previously these boats lacked necessary basic equipment like warning system and alarms, chilling and storage units besides a string of other facilities that are mandatory for fishing boats as per EU guidelines. He said that the fishermen expressed their appreciation over the changes made to the boats and said it would help the quality and quantity of the overall catch besides providing them much needed security. On the occasion, Arthur Bayhan, CEO of the CSF said that CSF has been involved in improving the fishery sector in Pakistan because this industry has a competitive advantage and potential to grow. He added that Pakistan has a fish and seafood industry that includes ancillary industries worth $1.2 billion. More than one million people rely directly or indirectly on this industry. Pakistanis eat less than 2.5kg of fish per year, one of the lowest per capita consumption in the world. The average consumption per year per capita is around 15kg. He said that CSF, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has carried out an Action Plan for Fish Quality and Value Adding at Karachi Fish Harbour (KFH) by identifying the obstacles and problems that the harbour faces. The Action Plan identified a number of obstacles, foremost of which is that the industry is under threat from two sides. One is overfishing, which reduces the resource base and hence the yields. The other is poor quality control, which means that the value of the catch is not being maximized and much is being wasted. The CSF Action Plan has made a number of recommendations. These include the re-organization of the Management Structure of KFH aimed at resolving the positions of the Fishermens Cooperative Society and the auctioneers (moles) and a proposal to contract out the management via a company structure. The Action Plan also recommends the physical rehabilitation of the infrastructure, better water supply, more ice-making, rationalising the number of boats in the harbour, improving the sewage system and up-grading auction halls. Earlier, Laik Memon Secretary of Live Stock and Fisheries has briefed about the developments works and the boats modification, he said that total 89 boats, including 71 large boats and 18 small ones, have been upgraded or repaired through financing by the Sindh Government. On the other hand, as many as 28 boats, 16 large and 12 small, have been upgraded through private financing.