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White Fish Export Ban Hitting Businesses Hard

08 August 2012, at 1:00am

BANGLADESH - The government's recent move to stop the export of white fish has hit businesses hard as it has not got any clear specification about shipments of value added and frozen fishes.

The frozen food exporters called upon the concerned agencies to bring necessary changes on the ban to keep allowing export of the value added and frozen fishes, which should not be treated as raw fish or white fish, reports FinancialExpress.

The government on 31 July imposed a ban on the export of all kinds of white fishes, including 'hilsha', but excluding shrimp to keep prices of the protein-rich food at reasonable levels during the holy month of Ramadan.

"Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has issued a circular in this regard but it was not identified that chilled fishes are not in the category of raw fishes," Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA) president Kazi Shahnewaz said.

The MoC circular has created confusion among the frozen food exporters and Fish Inspection and Quality Control (FIQC) under the Department of Fisheries (DoF).

He said: "Chittagong and Mongla customs officials have already halted some consignments which are cent per cent processed, causing financial loses for the frozen food exporters."

"The exporters have completed different formalities, including banks, insurance and DoF certificate, but the ministry of commerce issued ban without holding any prior consultations with them," he said.

The BFFEA president said: "We are always against of raw fish export as it creates crisis of sufficient supply to the processing. So, raw fishes export, including 'hilsha', should be permanently banned and specification of value added and frozen fish export is needed to protect our market."

The BFFEA sent a letter this regard to the Ministry of Commerce and other concerned authorities to take immediate necessary steps to continue export of frozen fish.

Shahnewaz said: "The overseas sale of frozen fish, including shrimp, to Europe, USA and the Middle Eastern countries has already started to face firm trouble, after the circular issued on ban of white fish. It was not happened in last 40 years."

Bangladesh exports different ready to cook and frozen fishes (-18 degree Celsius) and locally unpopular fish items to Europe, USA, Middle Eastern and the south Asian countries.

Besides, the government provides 10 per cent cash incentive to the value added and frozen food exporters to boost the industry.

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