March 14, 2023


Pakistan considers shrimp farming to boost economy



The Pakistan government aims to cultivate shrimp farming and its exports to boost the economy, aid in addressing food insecurity, and contribute an additional valuable component to the country's fish farming industry, Fish Information & Services reported.


Dr Sikandar Hayat, Director General of Pakistan's Department of Fisheries, Punjab, said that shrimp, being an export commodity, is a valuable species with several varieties such as marine, vannamei, and rosenbergii, which can tolerate low salinity and thrive in freshwater.


Shrimp typically flourishes in saline waters with a marine salinity ranging from 30 to 35 parts per thousand (ppt) and sometimes exceeding 40 ppt. Pakistan's Department of Fisheries is exploring the possibility of producing species that can survive at 3 ppt, as the water salinity in certain districts of Punjab such as Sargodha and Muzafargarh is in the range of 3-6 ppt. Kallar Kahar salt range, with a salinity of about 27 to 29 ppt, provides an ideal environment for sea bass and shrimps. Manthar Lake in southern Punjab has a salinity of approximately 9 ppt, making it a feasible location for shrimp farming. Robert Farm, another location in southern Punjab, has a saline water lake with a salinity of 60-80 ppt, which is higher than any marine water. With some dilution, the lake's salinity can be brought down to 40 ppt, making it a viable option for shrimp production.


Dr Sikandar Hayat said successful trials of shrimp farming were carried out by the country's Fisheries Department in Sargodha, Muzaffargarh, and Farooqabad in the Sheikhupura district.


He also said that experiments revealed that Lillah area near the Kallar Kahar salt range and Fazalpur in Sialkot were suitable locations for establishing shrimp hatcheries, as they contain all essential nutrients necessary for the growth of shrimps.


The Pakistani government has hired a Thai consultant to prepare a feasibility report for this purpose. The two critical factors for promoting shrimp farming and value addition in Pakistan, seed and feed, are mostly imported from Thailand. However, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a halt in the supply from Thailand, prompting the government to consider establishing local shrimp hatcheries and feed processing facilities.


The project for shrimp farming will be launched under the public-private partnership mechanism. A Pakistani company has formed a joint venture with a Thai firm to establish a shrimp hatchery in Karachi. Mature shrimps from this hatchery will be supplied to Sindh and Punjab provinces.


Dr Sikandar Hayat said the Karachi hatchery, which will have a capacity of 50,000 shrimps, is expected to be set up by June this year.


Dr Sikandar Hayat also highlighted that there was not a single mill in Pakistan that produced high-quality feed for shrimps. He said that two foreign companies had signed a contract with Pakistan's Fisheries Department for the local production of shrimp feed.


Iftikhar Ahmad Chaudhary, Pakistan's Director of Fisheries, said that the launch of the project would attract more investments from the private sector in the long run, which would be beneficial for Pakistan.


-      Fish Information & Services

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