EU export restrictions prompts PM visit to Karachi fish harbour

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
28 February 2007, at 12:00am

PAKISTAN - Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is expected to visit the Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA) on March 3 to look into the affairs there in the wake of restrictions put on 10 seafood exporters by the European Union, writes Aftab Maken in The News.

About a week ago, the European Commission in a meeting decided to delist 10 seafood processing units operating in Karachi from its approved list of exporters for not meeting required quality standards.

"The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock has not yet received a formal communication in that regard, as the Pakistani mission in Brussels has informed it about the matter," Secretary MINFAL Ismail Qureshi told The News on Tuesday.

The European Commission had asked Pakistani authorities to comply with the quality standards and other safety protocol of the EU for the resumption of seafood exports, Qureshi added.

Out of total 28 processing units operating in Karachi, 10 have been de-listed. Secretary MINFAL said they had pointed out major deficiencies in the entire fishing sector.

The EU took the decision after its four-member team checked the quality of seafood being exported to its member countries earlier this year.

"Hygienic conditions are one of the major concerns of the EU countries. It is difficult for the Marine Fisheries Department (MFD) to train and create awareness among 5,000 fishermen," said Salim Memon, Secretary Food, Livestock and Fisheries in the Sindh Government.

He said the Sindh government in collaboration with the federal government was working on various plans to improve the quality of seafood.

"The KFHA has already launched some projects to improve harbour conditions," the official said, adding "these include setting up a flake ice plant and a modern electricity generation plant. This will add plus points to measures aimed at enhancing Pakistani seafood quality."

The EU countries, which shared 54 per cent of Pakistans $128 million seafood exports during 2003-04, have already imposed 100 per cent checks on the import of frozen fish products from Pakistan following detection of a contaminated consignment of shrimps at Rotterdam in March 2002.