EU Visit To Determine Shrimp Exports

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
20 January 2010, at 12:00am

BANGLADESH - A top EU (European Union) team arrived in the country on Monday to visit fish farms and processing plants to find out whether the country's produces match the quality required by European countries.

The three-member team help meetings with the ministry of fisheries and livestock department top officials.

The future of the country's export to EU countries largely depends on the EU FVM's (Food and Veterinary Mission) report on aquaculture residue monitoring activities," an official at the department of fisheries told the TheFinancialExpress.

The delegation will scrutinise the present situation of residue control in live animals and animal products and the control mechanism for veterinary medicinal products --- measures seen as key requirements for export of shrimps to EU.

The team will also inspect implementation of public health and residue control requirement in aquaculture products from root level to production level so that health-hazard agents or drugs cannot enter the shrimps' bodies meant for export, Abdul Khaleq, director general of fisheries department, said.

The EU is the largest importer of Bangladesh shrimps, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the shipments made last year.

The country exported US$454 million worth of shrimps in fiscal 2008-09.

Shrimp farming is a key employer in the country's poverty-stricken southwestern coastal region. According to the industry, the country's 130 shrimp processing plants and tens of thousands of farms employ over one million people.

Mr Khaleq told TheFinancialExpress during the visit, the EU delegation will monitor whether the country's farms, landing stations, depots and processing plants, in Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Khulna, have enforced some key health and hygiene standards it suggested in November last year.

The team will also visit laboratories run by the fisheries department, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and Bangladesh Council for Science and Industrial Research to examine testing and quality control measures, he said.

Experts say any deviation from the standards could lead to a bad report by the team and also a possible ban on Bangladesh shrimps in 27 EU countries.

"We face an acid test this January. The EU team will go to the grassroots to monitor our industry. If they find that we have failed to implement their standards, our export could face a major setback," said an expert.