KARACHI - A seminar on marine bio-diversity, aqua-culture and fisheries was held at the Karachi University (KU) the other day. The seminar was organised by the Centre of Excellence in Marine Biology under an international project where two UK institutes and one Bangladeshi institute are partners with the Centre of Excellence in Marine Biology. The objective of the seminar was to share the achievements of the project with the wider community. The seminar was attended by the representatives of various government and non-government organisations. The main emphasis of the project was on the bio-diversity research and aqua culture. Both areas are important and key to the poverty alleviation and livelihood of the coastal community in particular. Mementoes in recognition of services and contributions rendered by the ex-faculty members of the Centre were distributed by the vice chancellor. The chief guest Vice Chancellor Dr Pirzada Qasim Siddiqui appreciated the achievements of the project and said that the country needed more research in the conservation and management of marine bio-diversity and development research and training facility for the aqua culture development. He said: "Country needs skilled manpower in these areas and KU is playing a key role in this respect. Regional university such as Chittagong University, Iranian University and KU can start a regional club to address the trans-boundary issues and also to share ideas of new research and of academic interest." Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, Dean Faculty of Science, said that the higher education linkages had been pivotal to the institutional and staff development. She said the higher education was the key to the development of the country. Nabeel Alvi, acting director of the British Council Karachi, expressed his satisfaction over the progress of the DelPHE project and appreciated the participation of various university departments' initiatives to strengthen the research and development activities. Dr Jamal Siddiqui, Director Marine Biology, presented details of the project and its achievements. He mentioned that the DelPHE partnership with UK and Bangladesh has resulted in the development of new and emerging technologies in Pakistan; while the project has a number of research students working in MPhil and PhD research programme. He mentioned that the aquaculture and bio-diversity management were areas where CEMB was putting its efforts in order to meet the future needs of the country. Dr Maruf Hussain gave a brief account of mutual research and training aspects of the partnership. He said that Bangladesh and Pakistan had a lot to share and exchange. Both can learn from each other's experiences. An eminent scientist from Chittagong University Prof Nani Gopal Das said that aqua culture has grown tremendously during the last few decades. "Now the 50 per cent of the fishery production is captured by the cultured fish. Asia contributes about 80 per cent of the total global aqua culture production which shows that the environment is most suitable here and the efforts in the right direction are needed. Pakistan can gain technological capabilities in aqua culture production by joining hands with other Asian countries known for aqua culture production," he added.