Agha's "Guide to Saltwater Sportfishing in Pakistan "

by Syed Aziz Agha 

 

BOOK SUMMARY

Aziz Agha book “Guide to Saltwater Sportfishing in Pakistan” is a must read for any angler wishing to fish that part of the world. Through this book and his work with Agha’s Sportfishing, great strides to promote ethical angling and conservation of the marine environment are being achieved in Pakistan.

 

Rob Kramer

President IGFA

INTERNATIONAL GAMEFISH ASSOCIATION

Florida USA

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

This is the first book on saltwater sportfishing in Pakistan and is meant to serve as a guide for existing and potential anglers about the large variety of gamefish found off the coast of Sindh and Balochistan. It informs that Pakistan’s 1200 km coastline boasts some of the most prized gamefish sought after by anglers who are willing to travel to remotest parts of the world to catch prized fish species like marlins ( blue, black, striped ), sailfish, yellowfin tuna, big tiger and mako sharks alongwith giant mackerel, cobia, mahimahi, wahoo, barracuda, queenfish, giant trevally, threadfin and barramundi.

 

In order to develop Pakistan as a major saltwater fishing destination, it is essential to develop basic infrastructure at/near Karachi, to attract potential tourists from all over the globe. The infrastructure will consist of piers, jetties, boat maintenance yards and 5 star hotel accommodation , which Karachi city has in fair abundance. Mubarrak village ( about 40 km from Karachi ) has the basic potential for being developed into a deep sea fishing and marine recreational centre.

  

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

 

Saltwater sportfishing is an established revenue generating industry the world over, with US citizens spending US$ 116 billion on sportfishing, with US$ 25 billion on saltwater angling alone. The US has 60 million anglers and one in six persons in the USA in an angler. Australia has 10 million anglers and South Africa has around 40,000 offshore anglers. Major international fishing tournaments are held at Hawaii, Grand Caymen, Australia, Mauritius, etc,  which offer prize money of US Dollar One Million and more to attract serious sea going anglers.

 

PAKISTAN’S UNTAPPED POTENTIAL

 

Pakistan’s total tourist arrivals in 2004 was 648,000 persons ( this includes Pakistanis who have taken foreign nationalities and were visiting their home country ).Total foreign exchange earnings during that year was US $ 185.60 million. This is an insignificant amount compared to tourism related earnings of about US Dollars 10 / 15 billion, which some of the leading tourist destinations earn each year ( China, Italy, Spain, France, India, Malaysia, etc).  Pakistan can improve it’s foreign exchange earnings substantially by developing saltwater sportfishing tourist industry and attracting anglers from the world over. Pakistan already boasts of 2 world records in saltwater angling and has a trickling of saltwater angling tourists ( mostly Europeans ) coming to Karachi, which have been given a proper section in the book.

 

SERVICES TO BE OFFERED TO PROMOTE SALTWATER SPORTFISHING

 

Once the infrastructure is in place, Agha’s Sportfishing and other promoters could organize big fishing tournaments for local and foreign anglers, offering large prize money ( from sponsors who are currently sponsoring other outdoor sporting activities such as cricket, hockey, tennis, car-racing, etc. ). Another big money earner could be offshore fishing charters for gamefish as offered by charter operators abroad. It could range from half day, full day and overnight, to suit the angler’s budget.

 

URGENT NEED TO CONSERVE MARINE ECO-SYSTEM

 

The book highlights the need to conserve the marine environment and pin-points many serious issues of our marine habitat and ecology. Illegal fish netting should be stopped. Wanton untreated marine pollution, over-fishing inshore, cutting down of mangroves and reclamation of wetlands must be put on check, as they are devastating our untapped marine resources which may soon become extinct. The free use of local illegal Katra, Bola and Gujja nets, which are banned by law, creates an imbalance in the marine food chain. If not stopped immediately ( on a war footing ) it will eventually destroy the marine eco-system and the coming generations will be deprived of a healthy outdoor sport and recreational activity.

 

PHOTO: Mr Baqy Khan MD Merck Pakistan Ltd (R), Mr Jurgen Konig Former MD Merck ( L ) and the Author - Syed Aziz Agha ( C )

 

HALL OF FAME

 

The two world record holders in saltwater fishing from Pakistan are highlighted. Then there is a list of local fishing record holders alongwith their photo gallery, it depicts the who’s who of sea angling in Pakistan. The book talks about the local fishing heavyweights of marlin and tuna fishing.

 

TIPS FOR ANGLERS

 

The book attempts to highlight the practical aspects of saltwater angling. The tips for the readers include, fish identification names and charts, tackle, method, technique, to the what, when, where and how of finding fish in our sea. It tells us how to read the tides and currents, water temperature, movements of sea birds, how to keep catch fresh, it gives a good guideline to safety at sea and the do’s and dont’s  to venturing offshore. Also, what to take on a fishing expedition. It carries other valuable tips on sea sickness, global positioning system. A marine map of Pakistan’s coastline alongwith a local marine bulletin and a marine glossary are included.

 

For the lovers of the marine environment and first-timers, it has information of the fish delicacies, type of local fish that are good eating. It carries information on fishing with the family and some fishing knowledge for children, plus some humor thrown-in. A question and answer section on fishing is added to test the angler’s  IQ .

ABOUT AGHA’S  SPORTFISHING AND THE AUTHOR

 

Agha’s Sportfishing ( the headquarters of saltwater sportfishing in Pakistan ) was established in 1985 in Karachi, with the prime purpose of promoting sea fishing in the country.  It organizes offshore sportfishing tournaments, provides fishing guide service, sells charters and takes out fishing publications that also highlight environmental issues. The organization’s mission statement reads thus “Agha’s Sportfishing’s objectives are founded on the belief that the entire marine environment alongwith its wealth, that is its habitants, gamefish species and related food chain are economic, social, recreational and aesthetic assets, which must be conserved, protected, promoted, widely used and perpetuated. That, sportfishing is an important  recreational, social and economic activity about which  the public must be educated to pursue in a manner consistent with sound sporting, ethical and conservation practices”. The company also promotes  marine environmental causes.

 

The CEO of Agha’s Sportfishing, 60 year old Syed Aziz Agha ( with three and a half decades of saltwater fishing experience behind him ), is the pioneer of saltwater sportfishing in Pakistan. He founded the Kingfishers Club in 1984 and in 1999 was appointed Pakistan Representative of IGFA (The International Game Fish Association of America ) - the premier most fishing body in the world. Agha is obsessed with the sea and actively voices marine environmental causes. He holds two major local saltwater angling records, the heaviest fish caught on spinning tackle ( a 77 lb giant trevally on 30 pound line in March 2000 ) and in December 2003, became the first Pakistani angler to land all three species of marlin ( black, blue and striped ) found in our waters. Was a member of the 1988 team that tagged and released the first marlin ( the ultimate gamefish ) in Pakistan’s offshore waters.

 

AUTHOR’S MISSION

 

To take ‘fear of the sea’ out of people. To bring both young and old outdoors for healthy sport and recreation, close to Mother Nature. To understand, study and enjoy the pleasures and bounties of the marine environment and to teach the common man through fishing, to appreciate, respect, learn, preserve and protect the marine habitat and ecology, which is God’s precious gift to the citizens of Pakistan.

 

AUTHOR’S MOTTO

 

To enjoy all that Allah has made lawful.

 

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Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you will feed him for life.

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