Pakistan

Rare swordfish caught in Balochistan, sold in Karachi for Rs 8,800

KARACHI: A seven-foot long swordfish (Xiphias gladius) was caught by a sport fisherman on January 26 in Miani Hor Lagoon between Damb and Bera areas of Lasbella district, Balochistan.

The fish weighted around 56 kilogrammes and was sold for Rs 8,800 in the local market in Karachi. According to the local fishermen of the area, it is unusual to have caught this species as it was never found in lagoon areas.

According to WWF-Pakistan, the swordfish is a rare oceanic fish which is found in deep waters. This species is included in billfishes such as marlin and sailfish and is represented by six species in Pakistan. This fish is locally known as ghora or asp and is considered to be commercially very important.

Annually about eight thousand metric tons are caught in Pakistan but the swordfish is hardly represented in this catch. Pakistani boats operating in the Central Indian Ocean and waters off Yemen and Somalia occasionally catch swordfish, therefore, it is generally referred to as the Somali ghora.

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Abdul Qayoom, Secretary of Coastal Association of Research and Development (CARD) and also a volunteer of WWF-Pakistan reported the incident and consulted local fishermen about this rare find. According to him, no case of this fish was ever recorded from the area.

WWF-Pakistan has been collecting information about billfishes from coastal and off-shore waters of Pakistan for the past five years. However only six specimen of this fish were caught from the outer margin of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but no case was ever reported from neritic waters or inside creeks and lagoons.

He also shared that this fish is considered to be highly predatory and migratory in nature as it is found widely in tropical and sub-tropical waters of all three major oceans including the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean.

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