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EU to help improve seafood quality

KARACHI - The European Union is sending technical advisers to assist Pakistani fisheries authorities in development projects aimed at improving quality of seafood, banned by the 27-nation bloc on the same ground earlier this month.

A senior official said the government had come up with a damage control programme, involving both federal and provincial institutions which would play their role after the EU found serious deficiencies in Pakistani fisheries.

“For that matter, there is also a commitment from the EU, which would send technical advisers to assist us in improving quality in line with their requirement,” said Dr Hayat Muhammad Khan, Federal Fisheries Commissioner following a meeting with the federal and provincial officials to review current situation.

“There are also commitments from the federal and provincial governments to improve harbour conditions in a way that will satisfy the EU authorities. The processing factories are also asked to remove their deficiencies.”

He said the fresh meeting was part of the Prime Minister’s directives, who visited Karachi earlier this month and asked for serious efforts to improve seafood quality with development of modern facilities at the fish harbour.

“So we have discussed several projects at length,” said Dr Khan. “Sources of funding for these projects were also discussed. The federal government offered Rs20 million before the EU visit for the upgradation of the harbour and obviously it would again offer funding for new projects, but it is too early to estimate the final cost of such projects.”

The government earlier this month finally received a verdict from the EU, which informed Pakistani fisheries’ authorities about the delisting of all 10 seafood processing factories on quality grounds, virtually putting a ban on more than $80 million worth of exports.

The EU decision came more than a month after its team visited the Karachi fish harbour and other fisheries’ installations in January 2007 to check the quality of seafood being exported to member countries.

Source: The News-International

the Fish Site Editor

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