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EU bans fish imports from Pakistan

KARACHI - The government has finally received a verdict from the European Union, which informed Pakistani fishery authorities about de-listing of all the processing factories on quality grounds, effectively putting a ban on more than $80 million worth of exports, reports Imran Ayub, The International News.

The fisheries sources confirmed the initial letter of the EU, which asked Pakistani authorities to stop consignments from the country to the 27-nation bloc, as they would not be accepted after April 12.

“We have informed Ambassador Saeed Khalid, during the meeting on February 23, 2007 that the Commission and the member states have agreed in the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health on February 21, 2007 to proceed with a notification of the list of Pakistani fishery establishments in order to de-list all the 11 establishments actually in the Pakistani fishery,” said a letter from the EU’s Food and Veterinary Office to the federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL).

“Therefore, no consignments of fishery products will be accepted to enter into the EU after April 12, 2007.”

An official at the MINFAL said the ministry had approached the EU for clear words on Pakistani fishery quality after a number of exporters received the EU’s comments, which suggested that no decision had been taken so far.

“So in a prompt response, the EU faxed a letter to the MINFAL office in Islamabad, which suggests no Pakistani seafood consignments after April 12,” said the official.

He said with the fresh feedback, all the 11 seafood-processing units had been de-listed, which were earlier certified by the EU.

A three-member team of the EU’s FVO visited Karachi fish harbour in January 2007 to check fisheries’ facilities and quality of seafood being exported to its member countries. This trip was the second in two years after 2005.

In February 2005, the EU team wrapped up its visit on warnings that Pakistani authorities should maintain seafood quality as per the set standards otherwise they would lose their largest seafood export market.

the Fish Site Editor

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