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Suriname sets up fish inspection bureau to avert ban

SURINAME - In an attempt to avert an imminent ban of fisheries products to the European Union (EU), the Suriname government has set up a fish inspection institute as required by the EU, writes Ivan Cairo on Caribbean Net News.

On February 21 the EU member states sanctioned a proposed ban by the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission (EC) of Surinamese smoked fish and cultivated shrimps in the European market. The ban is effective starting April this year.

This measure is also hurting Suvveb and Bera Fisheries, the two remaining smoked fish exporters, which in the first instance assumed they could still export their products since they were sending samples to the Netherlands for testing before every shipment.

Six other fish processing companies where an EC inspection mission found serious shortcomings and health hazards in late 2006 were immediately closed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.

The EU inspection established that some of the processing companies are smoking their products with wood containing carcinogenic substances. Cultivated shrimps are banned because of inadequate hygiene standards at some of the shrimp farms.

To lift the ban it was required that Suriname establish a competent authority, which is responsible for official controls throughout the production chain. This authority must be empowered, structured and resourced to implement effective inspection and guarantee credible certification of the relevant hygiene conditions.

the Fish Site Editor

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